`Friendless' Bock to leave Lonrho

Dieter Bock, until last month the chief executive of Lonrho, is expected to leave the group in the next few months, City sources say.

Informed sources this weekend said he had become friendless on the board, "which has no desire to see him remain in a position of influence", following the sale of his remaining 18 per cent stake to South African mining giant Anglo-American.

That deal, which left Anglo with 27 per cent, is now being investigated by the European Commission.

Lonrho, meanwhile, is still negotiating with Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal over the disposal of its Princess hotels in the US following the pounds 327m sale of its Metropole chain to Stakis two weeks ago.

Mr Bock stepped down to become non-executive deputy chairman after the sale of his stake, saying he wanted to take a substantial stake in Lonrho Africa.

Disposal of the African trading business was to mark the final step in the break-up of the once sprawling empire built by his predecessor and bitter rival, Tiny Rowland.

This weekend, however, a Lonrho spokesman said there was no guarantee it would now elect to hive off the division, which would leave the group principally as a gold and platinum mining operation.

He said that after the Princess Hotels business is sold, "which will be by Christmas", options "include keeping the company as it is, or demerging it".

One scenario, he added, would see the company - headed by new chief executive Nick Morrell - remain as it is, and electing to grow through acquisition.

Retaining Lonrho in its present structure would fly in the face of current market expectations. It may also hurt the shares, which have already collapsed over the past month to 134p, compared with the 180p at which Mr Bock sold out.

In all, the shares have fallen from 217p in February, exacerbated by Anglo's perceived stranglehold, while at the same time eschewing a full bid.

Lonrho was aiming for a similar price for Princess as was achieved for Metropole. However, other sources close to the company said this weekend there were still tax uncertainties about the deal and the Saudi offer was closer to $440m (pounds 260m), with up to $300m deferred.

Whether or not the company demerges, Mr Bock is expected to further reduce his role and an involvement in Lonrho Africa is increasingly unlikely.

Institutions are dismayed at the turn of events, as the German property developer aroused great hopes in the City when he arrived in 1993 and subsequently ousted Mr Rowland.

"There is anger and disappointment Dieter has sold out at a price not available to the rest of us," one fund manager said.

He added that Mr Bock's interest in the African trading arm "did not really ring true. We have assumed he will not be staying".

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links