1 FEBRUARY 1963, Page 28

Company Notes


HE increase in deposits shown by the West- minster Bank for 1962 was the best for several years, but the chairman, Mr. D. A. Stirling, draws attention to the increasing com- petition from other banks for deposits. However, this expansion, including the release of £291 million special deposits with the Bank of Eng- land, has enabled the bank to increase its loans by £67 million and its investments by £34 million. The Westminster is in the van in elec- tronic computing. Last September the Chancellor of the Exchequer opened its first computer centre in the City. There is another in the West End. This electronic computing, says the chairman, will in future years provide some relief from heavy staff and premises accounts. The £1 'Er ordinary shares at 69s. 6d. are at their lowest for the year and give a good yield of 3.8 per cent.

Higher purchase tax and the bad weather made 1961-62 a bad year for lllingworth Morris, the woollen and worsted group at Bradford. Home trade suffered, but export markets held up well; especially good was the demand for cloth from America. The company now covers the whole range of processes, from woolcombing to the finished cloth. Considerable sums have recently been spent on plant reorganisation, which will soon be completed and will increase the profit- ability of the group. The chairman, Lord Wilmot, does not see how the worsted spinning section, can escape some evil result from the recent un-1 fair Anglo-Japanese trade treaty. For the fourth: successive year gross and net profits have de- clined, but the dividend of 13.3 per cent. has again been maintained. The 4s. shares at 5s. 41d. (their lowest this year), yielding 8.9 per cent., reflect the uncertainty of the future.

There has been a heavy fall, not unexpected, of 40 per cent. in the pre-tax profits of Lanca- shire Steel for the year to September 29, 1962. The net profit has fallen from £1.532 million to £967,000. The chairman, Mr. P. E. Holloway, points out that there has been a reduction in demand for the overall products of the steel industry, and this seems likely to continue. The company's principal trade is in steel rods, for which the decline in demand was less severe. For this reason the outlook could improve if there is a greater demand for rods from the building industry. Earnings for the maintained 11 per cent. dividend have dropped from 40.3 per cent. to 29.1 per cent. The possibility of a general election adds to the uncertainty of steel shares for the future. The £1 shares at 29s. yield. 7.5 per cent.

Retail sales from Allied Retail Trades passed the £4 million mark for the year to September 30, 1962, and in spite of the usual increase in wages, and 15 per cent. purchase tax on con- fectionery, the company did extremely well to achieve a record pre-tax profit of £202,000 against £188,000. A well-equipped merchandis- ing department, modernisation of existing branches and a continuing policy of expansion are the secret of success. The chairman, Mr. W. H. Martin, advises that during the financial year three branches were completed, five new branches were opened and five more have been acquired since September 30. The dividend has been increased from 21 per cent. to 24 per cent. The 5s. shares at 38s. 6d. yield 3.2 per cent.