26 MAY 1939, Page 53



THE thirty-fourth annual general meeting of The Kepong (Malay) Rubber Estates, Limited, was held on May 22nd in London.

Sir Francis Voules, C.B.E. (chairman and managing director), said that during the year under review they had produced a crop of 9,019,171 lb. Their sales of rubber had totalled 6,592,156 lb., including a quantity of low-grade rubber sold locally without export rights. The average gross price realised for their exportable rubber sold was 7.7d. per lb.

When prices dropped to under 5d. per lb. they had refrained from selling, holding unsold at that time about goo tons of their exportable rubber, of which the portion afterwards sold had fetched as high as 81(1. per lb. They were still holding off the market a portion of their exportable crop in London warehouse amounting to 514,476 lb., which had been valued for IICCOUnt purposes at 7d. net.

As a result of the year's working they had earned a profit of £43,646, after making the usual allowance for depreciation and setting aside £2,600 for National Defence contribution. They proposed transferring Li o,000 to reserve and, after allowing for the dividend of 41- per cent., less tax, they proposed to carry forward £15,913. The profit was, of course, disappointing and was accounted for by two adverse factors. The smaller exportable crop and the lower market price. Actually, in 1938 they had exported only 5,500,000 lb., as against over 9p00,000 lb. in 1937. The f.o.b. costs, however, were satisfactory, being 3.92d. against 4.04d. in 1937.

He was a strong supporter of the International Regulation Com- mittee, but shareholders would realise that if they sold less rubber and at a lower price it was inevitable that that should react Un- favourably on their profits. Absorption of rubber in 1938 had been very disappointing, but during the last half of last year a marked improvement had become evident, and that was being well main- tained, in spite of European uncertainties.