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Wednesday, December 30, 1998 Published at 15:56 GMT

Business: The Company File

Green light for BP Amoco

The mega-merger will mean the loss of up to 6,000 jobs worldwide

The US Federal Trade Commission has unanimously approved the $57.1bn merger of British Petroleum and US oil giant Amoco after the companies agreed to certain conditions.

After 60 nail-biting days for the two companies, FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky said the commission was satisfied that "the operations of these two companies rarely overlap in a way that threatens competition."

The deal will place the company among the top three oil producers, but worldwide 6,000 people will lose their jobs.

In order for the merger to take place, both companies have agreed to sell certain parts of their empire and give owners of more than 1,600 petrol stations in 30 cities permission to end their contracts.

The companies offered to divest 134 gas stations in eight markets and nine light petroleum products terminals. They will also make it easier for independent retail dealers to switch their petrol stations to other brands. The sales of those stations must take place within six months.

[ image: Both companies have agreed to divest of certain assets]
Both companies have agreed to divest of certain assets
The merger, announced on 11 August, is among the largest in history involving American and UK companies.

Few anti-trust grievances

The FTC said it looked at business areas where British Petroleum and Amoco's operations might overlap and found few reasons for concern.

"Where they do overlap, mainly in wholesale and retail sale of gasoline in local markets in this country, the commission with the cooperation of the companies has achieved substantial divestitures and other relief," Mr Pitofsky said.

The companies said in a statement that they intended to close the transaction shortly after 2100 GMT on 31 December when Amoco's stock will leave the US Standard & Poors 500 and the shares of the merged group, BP Amoco, will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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