3 MAY 1940, Page 30


MR. H. ERIC MILLER'S SPEECH The Ordinary General Meeting of The Mendaris (Sumatra) Rubber and Produce Estates, Limited, was held on May 1st.

Mr. H. Eric Miller, the chairman, in the course of his remarks, said :— The Company's standard production for 1939 was assessed at a figure rather higher than for 1938. The average rate of export release ruling in the Netherlands Indies during 1939 was 551 per cent., and the crop we account for is nearly 300,000 lbs. greater than that for 1938, while the average net price was IR!. per lb. higher. Direct estate costs were rather lower per lb. of crop, notwithstanding the depreciation of sterling against the guilder, but these advantageous factors were more than neutralised by increases in taxation both in the Netherlands Indies and at home. On top of Export Duty of nearly L4,80o we have, in addition to reserves already in hand, had to provide £6,000 to cover our estimated liability for Company Tax and War Profits Tax in the Netherlands East Indies. Then we have had to set aside £5,000 to cover estimated National Defence Con- tribution and Excess Profits Tax and, after allowing for the amount of tax which will be deducted from the dividend paid, we have had to reserve an additional £7,500 to cover British Income Tax at Increased rates on profits up to 31st December, 1939.

The amount required to cover taxes on the year's profits is equiva- lent to 71 per cent, on our issued capital and, after setting aside £7,500 for depreciation of mature areas, the balance of profits remaining admits of our distributing 4 per cent, in dividend, which is i per cent. better than for 1938, yet a very inadequate reward for a good year's work.

' With iegard to the prospects for the current year, the exportable percentage for the first six months of 1940 has been fixed by the Inter- national Committee at 8o per cent., a figure which is reduced by internal cuts to 73.2 per cent. for Netherlands Indies producers. It is clear that a noticeable reduction must be ariticipated in the second half of the year, but we expect to account for more than two million pounds of rubber, out of which, including contracts for forward delivery, we have sold i,o6o,000 lbs. at a price equivalent to toid. per lb., London landed terms.

The report and accounts were unanimously adopted and the pro- posed dividend of 4 per cent, was approved.