Rowland's pay up despite Lonrho fall

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LONRHO'S report and accounts disclosed yesterday that Roland 'Tiny' Rowland's salary rose from pounds 1.6m to pounds 1.65m in the last financial year, even though profits tumbled.

The payments are said to have included expenses and payment for his brief period as chairman of Lonrho.

Mr Rowland would also have collected about pounds 3.7m in dividends from his personal shareholding of 92 million shares.

Dieter Bock, the German businessman, was named in the annual report and accounts of the international trading conglomerate as joint managing director and chief executive. In effect he will be running the company with Mr Rowland.

'We all welcome Mr Dieter Bock to the board, both as an outstanding businessman in his private companies and now as a substantial investor in Lonrho,' Mr Rowland said in his chief executive's statement to shareholders.

Mr Bock is acquiring nearly 44 million shares from Mr Rowland's stake as part of his move into Lonrho.

Mr Bock has taken about 20 per cent of Lonrho, becoming its largest shareholder since last December.

Mr Bock's interest prompted Lonrho to announce last December that pre-tax profits were about to slump from pounds 205m to pounds 79m. In the event, when the preliminary figures appeared last month the results were a shade better than expected, with pre-tax profits of pounds 80m declared.

In other developments yesterday Lonrho dismissed as 'purely speculative' reports that it was near a deal that would lead to the sale of part of its stake in Western Platinum to Gencor, South Africa's biggest mining house.

Paul Spicer, Lonrho's deputy chairman, said he would not confirm or deny any talks with Gencor, but denied suggestions that discussions had narrowed to three options that involved Gencor lifting its stakein Western Platinum to a maximum of 49 per cent. 'It's all speculative stuff,' Mr Spicer said. 'We have no comment to make.' Lonrho owns 73 per cent of Western Platinum and Gencor 27 per cent.

In the accounts Mr Rowland says that the Observer newspaper, which the group owns, and which many analysts think will be the next big asset disposal, has improved its trading performance.