Rowland severs last links with Lonrho
Friday 08 March 1996
One of British business's longest and most colourful relationships finally came to an acrimonious end yesterday as Tiny Rowland severed his last remaining links with Lonrho. He confirmed yesterday his decision to sell out of the trading company he built up over three decades into one of Britain's largest and most controversial enterprises.
The sale to chief executive Dieter Bock of a 6 per cent stake in Lonrho will raise just over pounds 90m for Mr Rowland, who until last week remained adamant that he would hold onto the shares. The deal takes Mr Bock's stake in the company he joined three years ago to 24 per cent.
From his Belgravia home yesterday, Mr Rowland kept up his vitriolic assault on Lonrho and its new management: "Three years ago I came to an agreement with a fellow called Bock. I thought I'd found the right man but he is the worst I have come across in 38 years as a director of public companies."
Comparing Mr Bock to one of his oldest business adversaries, Mr Rowland said: "Mohammed Al Fayed is an angel compared to Bock. That is really saying something."
The former chief executive of Lonrho warned that adding the proceeds of the share sale to his other resources worth about pounds 300m would create a sizeable war chest to acquire new business interests. He even threatened to buy back Lonrho if, as he expected, its share price were to fall significantly from yesterday's close of 192.5p.
The decision to sell comes days after Mr Rowland was shouted down at Lonrho's annual meeting - in sharp contrast to the cheers he received a year earlier when he tried to stage a comeback and was supported by small shareholders but voted down by big investors.
Mr Rowland's sellout will give Mr Bock a commanding stake in Lonrho, a trading company with roots in Africa, where for decades Mr Rowland relished his role as a jet-setting powerbroker who cut deals with tribal chiefs and dictators.
He brought Mr Bock into Lonrho as a successor but later the two tangled fiercely before Mr Bock gained the upper hand in a boardroom split. Lonrho finally fired Mr Rowland.
An often controversial figure, Mr Rowland built Lonrho up over 30 years of dealmaking to create a multinational empire spanning mining, hotels, media and food, much of it in Africa.
Once dubbed "the unacceptable face of capitalism" by former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Lonhro became one of the African continent's biggest trading organisations employing more than 130,000 people.
In January, the company signalled a break with the past as it laid out proposals to disentangle its web of over 600 subsidiaries, triggering heavy flak from Mr Rowland. The company announced plans to list mining assets as a separate company and said more measures were in the offing to streamline its business and unlock shareholder value.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...