Lonrho will press ahead with break-up

Lonrho's new chief executive Nick Morrell put a break-up of the mining to African trading conglomerate firmly back on the front burner yesterday. The proposed split had appeared to founder late last year after an EU investigation into the company was launched following the unexpected sale of former chief Dieter Bock's 19 per cent stake to Anglo American.

Announcing a 13 per cent rise in profits for the year to September, Mr Morrell, former head of the African trading arm, said yesterday: "Your board remains committed to the view that the best way of delivering maximum value for shareholders is to separate the mining and non-mining interests."

He said the exact form of the split was uncertain but would probably involve some disposals of businesses before a demerger of the remaining trading operations from the mining rump. The Lonrho name is expected to go with the trading arm and Mr Morrell would probably move to those mainly African businesses, as Mr Bock had indicated he would before unexpectedly stepping down as chief executive last October.

Lonrho first announced its intention to perform a three-way split last January, but since then has only achieved the sale of its Metropole hotels to Stakis. A planned flotation of the hotels arm, which also includes the Princess resort hotels in North America, was abandoned after advisers warned the market was losing interest after a flood of flotations in the sector.

The sale of the Princess chain, for which Lonrho is believed to be in final negotiation with Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, is crucial to any demerger. The expected proceeds of more than pounds 300m would be used to knock a big hole in debts.

Mr Morrell would not be drawn on which other businesses might be sold before a demerger. Lonrho's interests include sugar plantations, African car dealerships, hotels and a range of agricultural operations including cotton, timber, meat processing and brewing. In the UK it owns the Dutton Forshaw car dealerships and Cramlington Textiles.

Lonrho said continuing confusion over the status of its largest shareholder, Anglo American, would not divert it from its planned demerger. The EU is currently probing Anglo's acquisition of a 28 per cent stake in Lonrho, mainly from Dieter Bock, and has barred it from voting its shares pending its investigation into possible competition complications due to the two companies' interests in platinum.

Pre-tax profits rose 13 per cent during the year to September from pounds 151m to pounds 170m before exceptional items. Earnings per share were 34 per cent higher at 11.9p (8.9p) and a final maintained dividend of 3p was recommended, making a total for the year of 5.25p. Lonrho's shares, which have fallen from a high of 217p over the past year, closed 2p higher at 127p.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
boxing
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living