By Our Financial Staff
British Leyland is preparing to reduce its holding in its South African subsidiary, Leyland Motor Corporation of South Africa. from about 80 per cent to 51 per cent. Shares worth around £6m in the South African business will apparently be placed with a syndicate of South African institutions to effect this.
British Leyland took its holding in the company, up from about 57 per cent to the present level in 1971-72. This involved buying out the family holdings of Mr Jack Plane, a former BLMC deputy chairman, and followed serious losses in South Africa. Emergency measures were taken by Leyland to correct the position.
The South African board was drastically reconstructed and a new chief executive appointed. Mr John Barber, who has just been appointed BLMC’s executive deputy chairman and deputy chief executive to Lord Stokes, the chairman, took over special responsibilities for ensuring recovery in South Africa. Even at that stage BLMC said it intended ” once a sound profit record had been established ” to reduce its holding in the South African subsidiary.
And this recovery has clearly happened earlier than expected.