TOKYO (AFX-ASIA) – Tomen Corp, a major general trading house, and Toyota Tsusho Corp, an affiliate of Toyota Motors Corp, will integrate their petroleum product businesses as early as July, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, without citing sources.

The two trading houses, which are considering integrating all of their operations in 2006, plan to enhance their competitiveness by consolidating overlapping business areas, the newspaper said.

Toyota Tsusho plans to sell on July 1 almost all of its oil product business rights to Tomen Petroleum (Singapore) Pte, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tomen marketing bunker oil, and at the same time take a 25% stake in the Tomen unit, the report said.

The two firms intend to increase sales of bunker oil and other petroleum products at a time when demand for fuel is growing, particularly in the marine transport sector.

Tomen’s revenue from its oil product business is about 43.5 billion yen, and Toyota Tsusho generates some 14 billion yen from the business. Their combined oil product operations are expected to be one of the largest in Japan, with revenue targeted at 65 billion yen in 2005, the report said. (US$1=114 yen).