15 APRIL 1938, Page 34


Meanwhile the results of shipping companies still reflect the high freight rates of last year. The accounts of the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company for 1937 are the first since the ordinary shares came into public hands last November. They show an increase of £11,005 to £446,883 in the net profit. This figure is struck after providing for taxation and for normal depreciation, so that the increase in the gross figure must have been considerably larger. Even so the result is a reminder that costs as well as takings were on a higher scale last year. The company is not yet paying an ordinary dividend but, as already announced, it has brought the 6 per cent. preference dividend up to date with a payment, for 2f years. A sum of k 15o,000 compared with £2oo,000 has been placed to special depreciation of re-engined vessels; The balance carried forward was increased by £1,537 to £150,892. Had it not been for the special depreciation and the preference arrears the company could have shown earnings of about 131 per cent. on its L2,740,000 of ordinary capital. The directors indicate that the special depreciation is at an end, and that the normal depreciation of the re-engined vessels will in future be on the basis of a longer life than the 20 years hitherto assumed. The company will have heavy commitments to meet in the next few years under its rebuilding programme, but \the directors hint that it may be possible to fund these commitments on a more permanent basis..

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