18 AUGUST 1939, Page 36


Although the principal copper mining companies in the Rhodesian field, Rhokana, Roan Antelope, and Mufulira do not declare their final dividends until September nor issue their reports until October they provide us with estimates of earn- ings which give a useful indication of what earnings for the year ended June loth were, and what the companies could, if they wished, pay out to their shareholders. Rhokana gave its half-yearly statement a fortnight ago showing earnings for the year to be somewhat lower, but still amply sufficient to cover the previous year's total distribution of 62+ per cent. The quarterly statements from Roan Antelope and Mulfulira now complete the picture. As was to be expected, the June 30th quarter was a comparatively lean period for both companies, for copper prices were somewhat lower than in the previous three months, and restriction relatively severe, production being limited to 95 per cent. Roan Antelope earned £354,000, against L346,000 in the previous quarter, and Mufulira £235,000 against £260,500.

Of more interest are the earnings after providing obsolescence for the year ended June 30th. Roan Antelope's estimated net profit, subject only to taxation, were £1,372,000. This is a fall of over £2o0poo on the previous year's figure of £5,575,068. But the profits would be sufficient to enable the company to maintain its total dividend at 20 per cent. for the year, provided the directors are content to add to reserve sub- stantially less than the £25o,000 which they added last year. Shareholders can await their decision in the knowledge that the interim dividend was maintained at so per cent.

Mufulira Copper Mines have done better than the others, and show an estimated net profit for the year of kr,o43,000 compared with £968,000, a figure which should put the maintenance at least of the 13f per cent. dividend beyond question. This is a private company owned as to 64 per cent. by Rhodesian Selection Trust, and as to 32 per cent. by Rhokana Corporation. Rhodesian Selection Trust should be able to maintain its 15 per cent. payment.

J. D. M.