1 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 31


There is no denying that Richard Thomas, the big South Wales steel and tinplate company, have gone through a thoroughly unsatisfactory trading period. Profits of the whole group for the year ended April 1st declined by no less than £1,359,137 to £880,380. There is, as expected, ao dividend on either the Ordinary or Preference capital, but the company has been able to pay its Debenture interest ind to make provision for depreciation. That part of the Debenture interest attributable to the reconstruction at Ebbw Vale and at Redbourne, calculated at £200,000, has, aowever, been charged against general reserve, leaving a surplus of £42,061 to be added to the combined undivided profit of the group.

The relieving feature of the present accounts from the shareholders' angle is that the worst has undoubtedly now been passed. The year ended April 1st was not only a period of recession in the steel and tinplate industries. It was also a time of construction and experiment at Ebbw Vale. So far from showing a profit at Ebbw Vale, a loss of £270,855 was sustained there during the period. Although the accounts give no lead on the current trade position, I think it is a safe assumption that profits have now replaced losses at Ebbw Vale, and that the prospects of the Preference shareholders are less remote than at first they appear.

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