The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

Lonrho Moves to Regain Media Seized by Idi Amin

The giant British-based Lonrho conglomerate, headed by Rhodesian-born R.W. "Tiny" Rowland, is looking to expand its holdings in the African newspaper publishing industry. Rowland held talks with Ugandan president Milton Obote on January 29 concerning the return of the Uganda Times and its printing house, Consolidated Printers, to Lonrho. The two businesses were nationalized along with other Lonrho interests in 1972 by then-president Idi Amin.

"The government agreed in principle to turn over the properties, said Agrey Awori, minister plenipotentiary at the Ugandan embassy in Washington. He said that a Lonrho team, probably including Rowland, would be returning to Uganda soon to set the terms of the deal.

The de-nationalization is part of a concerted effort by Obote's administration to return many state-owned businesses to their former owners. Several hotels and real estate holdings have been returned to Asian families, and the Kenya-based East African Breweries is negotiating the return of its former subsidiary, Uganda Breweries.

Lonrho already owns at least five newspapers in Africa, including the Kenya Sunday Standard, in addition to the Glasgow Herald and Evening Times and 33 other weekly newspapers in Scotland. After making a bid for the London Times but losing out to Australian Rupert Murdoch, Rowland bought the London Observer last February. Lonrho also owns the specialty printing plant in England which prints British stamps:' Printing and publishing contributed 7% of the firm's profits in 1979.

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