22 MARCH 1940, Page 36


From recently-announced profits and dividends share- holders in building companies have learnt how severely war has cut across the normal activities of their undertakings. Thus, the London Brick Company, which has deservedly enjoyed a reputation for sound management and strong finance, has found itself compelled to reduce its ordinary dividend from 20 to to per cent., and to judge from Sir Malcolm Stewart's review at this week's meeting, the current year's prospects are far from bright. He told shareholders that the general house building industry on which the com- pany mainly depends is virtually dead for the time being, and that compensating demand from other sources is not yet in sight. In these conditions there will be no surprise at the board's decision to abandon its normal policy of declaring interim dividends. This is discouraging news from a com- pany which has a long record of successful trading, but it is one of the inevitable results of modern war. At 3os. London Brick Li ordinaries yield just over 61 per cent., on last year's ro per cent. rate. There cannot be any big recovery in these shares in war conditions, but they should be worth holding for eventual recovery. For anybody who wants a " peace hedge " they are obviously a good purchase.