ALL the chief Rhodesian copper producers have now declared their final dividends for the year ended June 3oth. As the quarterly and half-yearly statements of profits issued about two months ago have already given a good idea of what available earnings were, the dividends contain no surprises. They are nevertheless instructive of the remarkable earning capacity of the Rhodesian copper industry in a financial period which includes several months of unsatisfactory conditions in the copper market.
Making allowance for the changes in capital structure which have been made in several of the companies, only one of them is distributing a smaller amount than in the previous year ; Roan Antelope's 20 per cent. would have been equivalent to 6o per cent. on the previous year's capitalisation, against 80 per cent. then distributed. On the other hand, there have been important increases. Mufulira's 23f per cent. against 25 per cent. represents a gross distribution of £672,220 against £448,330 a year ago, owing to the larger capital. This dividend is divided between Rhodesian Selection Trust, which is thus able to pay 25 per cent. against 20 per cent., and Rhokana Corporation, who are maintaining their total dividend for the year at 62i per cent. Rhodesian Anglo-American, which controls Rhokana Corporation, is maintaining its total distribution at 25 per cent. for the year, although a sub- stantially larger capital now ranks for dividend.
It will thus be seen that Mufulira Copper Mines are playing an increasingly important role in the industry. The earnings of Roan Antelope and the direct earnings of Rhokana were slightly lower. The increased distribution from Mufulira is responsible for the favourable dividend announcement of Rhodesian Selection Trust, and partly responsible for those of Rhokana and Rhodesian Anglo-American. * * * *
If the Rhodesian copper mines can sail through the recession in such good trim, they should be well placed to take advantage of the more favourable conditions which have now arrived in the copper market. It has been announced that the quota is to be raised as from tomorrow from 95 per cent. to 2o5 per cent. The decision, which itself means better profits to the producers, has coincided with a sharp rise in the London price. The American Domestic price has also risen. With copper at around £46 per ton, with substantial armament buying recently completed, the certainty that there is to be no relaxation in the pace of rearmament and the possibility of increased normal demand as well, conditions should be favourable.
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HARRISONS AND CROSFIELD
Chairmen of rubber and tea companies have recently been expressing hopeful views about tea and cautious ones about rubber. Mr. Eric Miller, celebrating his thirtieth year as a director at the meeting of Harrisons and Crosfield, reversed that position. He was extremely cautious about the tea outlook, saying : " It remains to be seen whether the extra supplies can be absorbed without prices declining to a level which would require the Committee to reduce the exportable percentages." But he was very hopeful about rubber, feeling that the recovery in the U.S.A. will now proceed without further serious check. The trend of world rubber stocks since the end of the first quarter of this year had, he pointed out, been downwards, while tyres have been kept on the road much longer than is normally prudent. He believes that with the recovery of confidence in the U.S.A. tyre sales for replacement should increase and that there is also room for considerable expansion of the sales of new