HL Deb 15 April 1986 vol 473 cc542-3

3 p.m.

Lord Bruce of Donington

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received information concerning the identity of the beneficial owners of the approximately 20 per cent. of the share capital of Westland plc held by nominees on 12th February 1985.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Lucas of Chilworth)

My Lords, the company has advised the Department of Trade and Industry of the names of the following beneficial owners of its shares identified as a result of its investigation under Section 212 of the Companies Act 1985: Actraint No. 34 Property Ltd. Australia (a subsidiary of TNT Ltd.) 4.99 per cent.; Marc A. Odermatt, Esq., of Palma de Mallorca, 476 per cent.; Guillermo Schiess, Esq., of Uruguay. 1.53 per cent.; Mauricio de Castro, Esq., of Los Angeles, 4.89 per cent.; Lynx Marketing of Panama, 4.83 per cent.

Lord Bruce of Donington

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for having provided this distinguished miscellany of names that are rather strange to the United Kingdom. Will the noble Lord confirm that these beneficial owners are not themselves the nominees for other owners? Has the noble Lord made an investigation into that aspect of the matter?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, my advice comes directly from the chairman's office of Westland plc. The company has satisfied itself in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Act, after exhaustive inquiries and the use of law firms in California, Uruguay and Australia. The advice of the company to me is that there is no reason to suppose that these nominees have acted in breach of the Companies Act.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, can the noble Lord not answer the question about whether any of these companies, or all of them, are nominees of other companies, in particular nominees of Sikorsky Fiat?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, as I have indicated, the company has made its investigations and has satisfied itself that all these five owners are owners in their own right.

Lord Bruce of Donington

My Lords, in that case, why did the noble Lord just make what was perhaps a psychological slip and describe them as nominees himself?

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, I think it was perhaps a slip of the tongue. They are the beneficial owners.

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