§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions and for what purposes his Department has initiated inquiries into Lonrho; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Fletcher
On 23 May 1973 the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry appointed inspectors under section 165(b) of the Companies Act 1948 to conduct an investigation into Lonrho Ltd. following boardroom disputes. In addition, the following proposed acquisitions by Lonrho have been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973: Lonrho/Scottish and Universal Investments, on which the Commission reported in 1979, and Lonrho/House of Fraser, on which the Commission reported in 1981 and 1985. The purpose of these investigations was to establish, in each case, whether a merger situation existed and whether it might be expected to operate against the public interest.
Lonrho was also involved in the recent investigation into the membership of House of Fraser plc carried out by Mr. John Griffiths QC under section 172 of the Companies Act 1948.