22 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 28

Company Notes


MR. JOHN BEDFORD, chairman of Deben- hams, the fashion house and departmental stores group, tells shareholders that it is the group's policy to extend facilities into the field of popular trading. In spite of difficulties, the turnover in 1962-63 was increased and the trading profit rose from £8.613 million to £9.017 million for the year to July 31, 1963. The dividend was raised a point to 20 per cent. Provided that there is no setback in the autumn, the gross revenue for 1963-64 is expected to exceed the increase in expenses, a large per- centage of which will be attributable to much higher rates on the company's properties. It would be interesting to know what rates were paid by Debenham and Freebody on their property (originally founded in 1778) at 44 Wigmore Street, in that year. The 10s. ordinary shares may before long regain their former glamour. At 44s. 6d., yielding 4.5 per cent, they are a sound investment.

In our last week's issue record profits of £739,779 were reported by Peter Brotherhood, manufacturer of machinery and power plant at Peterborough. The dividend, after three years at 25 per cent, is increased to 30 per cent. The higher gross profit was due to a large amount of work being sub-contracted, which greatly helped to increase the total output. The chair- man, Mr. William Thompson, is optimistic for the future, particularly as the company has a full order book and will benefit from the revival in orders for steam turbines and a larger de- mand for, plant from the textile industry. The 5s. ordinary shares at 19s. 44d. give an attractive yield of 6.2 per cent.

One of the many interesting points made by Mr. Garfield Weston, chairman of Associated British Foods, in his report to shareholders, is that he considers that an increase in the retail price of bread is inevitable. This, together with a boycott of AB bread by the credit-trading- stamp group (on which Mr. Weston is silent), will not help the bakery division.' The outlook for the grocery division is better now that 51 per cent interest in the non-profitable Howardsgate (Fine Fare Supermarkets) was sold for £9.5 million. This will enable AB Foods easily to deal with future capital commitments of £4 million. Pre-tax profits for the year to March 31, 1963, rose from £8.797 million to £9.769 million and the 25 per cent dividend, in- creased from 22.5 per cent, was covered 2.2 times by earnings. The company has a long and suc- cessful record. The , Is. ordinary shares at 7s. 3d. yield 3.4 per cent.