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Lonrho talks with JCI could spark revolt

Lonrho, the troubled conglomerate, has re-entered talks with JCI, the South African mining group, about acquiring its Tavistock coal business but has ruled out a full bid. Lonrho is also bidding for the 26 per cent shareholding that JCI is due to acquire from mining giant Anglo American.

However, it emerged yesterday that the move could prompt a shareholder revolt. A spokesman for Tiny Rowland, the former head of Lonrho and an outspoken critic of its performance, said yesterday: "Many institutional shareholders are unhappy with Lonrho. They could block this deal if they cannot see any enhancement of shareholder value."

Some of JCI's largest shareholders are also believed to be concerned about its plan to swap gold assets for the 26 per cent stake in Lonrho.