How merger frenzy restricts business

David Knott London The recent mergers among petroleum companies are likely to be good for the companies involved but bad for those they do business with. For most companies serving the petroleum industry, the formation of BP Amoco plc, Exxon Mobil, and smaller combines increases competitive pressures in an already cutthroat market. Simon Williams, line underwriter for offshore energy at Hiscox plc, London, said mergers and acquisitions are the biggest concern facing energy insurers right now. "There has been a spate over the past few months," said Williams, "and they are sure to continue, driven by low oil prices and the i...

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