5 JUNE 1964, Page 33

Company Notes


tsuurs from Reed Paper Group for 1963, ilkannounced last month, can be considered as highly satisfactory. Sales were up over the £100 million mark and pre-tax profits rose from £8.48 million to £9.56 million. These good figures are arrived at after allowing for terminal losses of £400,000 since the acquisition of Spicers. From the net profit of £4.8 million against £4.5 million the 16 per cent dividend IS maintained on the capital increased by £4.375 million in shares for the acquisition of Spicers. With a brighter outlook for the paper Industry and a saving of about £1 trillion, due to reorganisation, in the current year, there is every change of a rise in the dividend next year. The £1 shares at 58s. 9d., yielding 5..5 per cent, should prove to be worth buying. My colleague Custos referred, in our May 15 _Issue, to the excellent results for 1963-4 from Marks and Spencer when he suggested that the °PPortunity should be taken of buying shares the Marks and Spencer type on a reaction in the market, which he expected. The 5s. 'A' ordinary were then around 67s.; they are now 61s. 3d. The group is still forging ahead in ex- tending its present 238 stores, which between them sold over £201 million worth of goods in the year ended March 31, 1964. The brand name 'St. Michael' in clothes has established a big name for quality and value, and food sales, Which now equal 22.5 per cent of total sales, are being expanded. The dividend of 381 per cent Is followed by a one-for-two scrip issue on the strength of the property revaluation which threw oP a surplus of £33.39 million. There is scope for a further small increase in the dividend on the larger capital. The time may now have arrived to buy the shares. Helped by a reduction of £121,000 in the de- preciation figure, profits for 1963 from London 4.1111 Asiatic Rubber (the largest rubber pro- Oucer in the Harrison and Crosfield group) have risen from £883,000 to £1.041 million. The divi- dend goes up from 371 per cent to 421 per cent

and a one-for-two scrip issue 'is proposed. The . shares improved on these excellent results

to 41d.; they are now 5s. 71d. xd. and yield nearly 15 per cent. The. price of natural rubber has fallen since the year-end and the demand for synthetic etic continues to grow. However, this efficient producer should be able to hold its °Mt. Its shares are among the best in this group.