18 MAY 1962, Page 28

Company Notes

THE low level for lead and zinc prices was pri- marily responsible for the heavy drop in pro- fits of Consolidated Zinc Corporation for 1961. The reduction was £1,835,447, before charging royalty and taxation. Other factors were a 20 per cent. decrease in demand for zinc alloys from the motor industry in the United Kingdom, and also for sulphuric acid from the steel industry in South Wales. This was most disappointing for the first full year's working of the Imperial Smelting Company's furnaces at Swansea. The start of the current year, with lead and zinc prices lower than the average price for 1961, does not make prospects for 1962 look any more hopeful. The dividend has been reduced from 4s. to 3s. on the £1 ordinary shares, now 51s. The chair- man, Mr. A. M. Baer, says that the merger with Rio Tinto (if approved) will be of great benefit to both companies. Seafield Amalgamated Rubber has really done well for the year to September 30, 1961, by re. ducing its costs and increasing (above the esti. mates) the output of rubber, which has now been raised to an average of 934 lb. per acre. Last year 677 acres of rubber were replanted; a similar amount will be dealt with this year. The future strength of this company, should the price of rubber remain at its present depressed level, is its growing acreage of oil palms. These now cover 2,999 mature and 2,820 immature acres. Plans are in hand, says the chairman, Mr. A. H. Marshall, t increase this area by over 6,000 acres during the next eight years. With the net price obtained for rubber 19.6d. against 28.1d., the pre-tag profit fell by 33 per cent. and the dividend was expectedly cut-from 50 per cent. to 30 per cent, If as seems likely (there are ample liquid re' sources) the 30 per cent. dividend is maintained for the current year, the 2s. shares at 3s. 3d" at which price they yield over 18 per cent., art certainly attractive for those needing a high income return. for the current year, the 2s. shares at 3s. 3d" at which price they yield over 18 per cent., art certainly attractive for those needing a high income return.

The Refuge Assurance Co. reports an increase in premium income in the life branches of £921,140, bringing the total for 1961 10 £21,958,871. Total net interest also increased by £760,946, bringing the total to £8,549,976. This satisfactory state of affairs was helped by high money rates and better industrial ordinary divi. dends, as considerable increases were made in ordinary shares and property interests in the la' vestment portfolio. The dividend on the 5s. 13' ordinary shares is Is. Md.; at a price of 120i• the yield is around 2.6 per cent.

Generally insurance business in 1961 was WI: profitable but the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation had a very satisfae' tory year, in spite of its heavy underwriting accounts in the US. The fire account brought 10 a substantially higher premium income; an oar' standing increase occurred in the life department, net new sums assured rising from £51,994,000 10 £81,703,000. This department of the business, especially pension fund policies, is rapidly la' creasing. The investment income has once agaia risen and now covers dividends paid 1.53 time': Last year the capital was doubled by a scrip issue, it is now proposed to make a rights issue of 001 for ten at 60s. each. The-dividend is maintained : at Is. 6d. on the 5s. shares, now 108s. A yield 0' only 1.4 per cent. is rather to be expected fro0 such a go-ahead company with an outstanding.. record.

The merchant and investment bankers, Sing° and Friedlander, increased their gross profit for 1961 from £338,170 to £471,566 and this OS achieved after writing off £52,678 against £4,11 in respect of capital expenditure. However, wit': a higher tax figure, the net profit fell fro £245,574 to £229,776. As forecast last May wh. the one-for-four rights issue was made, the tota dividend is to be 9 per cent. The 5s. ordina shares at 22s. yielding 2 per cent. may lo0 dear, but this progressively managed compaa should continue to make steady growth.

Since the extremely good figures for 1961 we published by Alfred Dunhill, the well-knoW pipe and tobacco manufacturers, the £1 sha have risen sharply to 155s. to yield 4.7 P cent. on the 37f per cent. dividend. The fort' coming statement by the chairman, Miss Ma Dunhill, at the annual general meeting may ind cate that the company is having another go year. •