TRADING UNDER WAR CONDITIONS
THE annual meeting of The United Molasses Company, Limited, will be held on May 30th, 1941.
The following is a summary of the statement by the chairman (Mr. F. K. Kielterg) circulated with the report and accounts.
In the United Kingdom the company had throughout the year acted' as agents for the Ministry of Supply, under the direction of the controller of Molasses and Industrial Alcohol. The distribution of the country's requirements of• molasses had, under that arrangement, worked smoothly and without a single breakdown. Although by far the greater part of the company's activities had been taken up with work arising out of the agency- agreement, the commission received by the company from the Ministry had amounted' to less than is per cent, of the company's combined profits.
The agreement, however, nermitted the company and its foreign subsidiaries to buy and sell molasses aoroad for their own account and several of the subsidiary and associated companies, particularly in America, had had a successful year. In other markets trade had been, and continued to be greatly handicapped by the difficulty ex- perienced in obtaining tonnage.
The company's business with the Continent of Europe had, of course, come to a complete standstill and since last spring no news whatsoever hal teen received from any of the European subsidiary companies. The future values of the Continental assets and invest- ments must, of necessity, be considered problematical and the directors had decided to write off those assets and investments in full. The written down book value amounted to £166,2oo, although the actual value was considerably in excess of that figure. The Board had also considered it prudent to write off, or to make provision for, all fixed assets situated in danger zones in other parts of the u orld, and all fixed assets included in the balance-sheet at December 31st, 1940, were situated within the Empire or within the United States of America.
The excellent work of the company's fleet had' enabled the company to meet all demands made upon it by the Controller. The losses suffered during the year were not severe but the directors were never- theless giving serious consideration to the problems of leplacing lost tonnage at the earliest possible opportunity. To make provision for the anticipated high replacement cost, they had decided to place the difference between insured values and book values to a special rebuild- ing reserve account.