Mexborough and Swinton Times, June 11
Conisborough Gas Company.
The 12th ordinary meeting of the shareholders of the Conisborough Gas Company limited was held on Wednesday afternoon at the Church Sunday school, the vicar of Conisborough (the reverent, J.G. Wood), who is the chairman of the company, presiding.
There were also present Messrs Charles Searle (Rotherham), E.Crawshaw (Warmsworth), Major Grantham, T.A.Simpson, and J. Nicholson (Conisborough), directors; J Nicholson (Horbury), W Beevers (Mexborough), E. Nicholson, T.Shutt, T Shearman, Wood, T. Booth, G Kilner and Ledger (Conisborough) and Mrs Mycock (Rotherham), shareowners; as well as the Secretary (Mr Harris)
The Report – When is the dividend to come?
The Chairman read the report, which was as follows:
The directors, in submitting to the shareholders the balance sheet of the Company for the year ending 31 March 1880, beg to state that at its commencement there was a balance of £223 2s 9d. due to the bank, but they have the pleasure to inform the shareholders that such balance has now been reduced to the sum of £51 12s 7d.
A majority of the directors strongly urge upon the shareholders the advisability of applying this year’s profit towards defraying the bank debt, with the confident expectation of being able to declare, at the next annual general meeting, that the debt has been quite liquidated, and a balance available for dividend.
Three directors, namely Messrs Searle, G.Hill, andE Crawshaw retire in accordance with the provisions of the article Association, and are eligible for re-election. Mr S Hawkes Wright was re-elected auditor for the current year.
Mr Beavers said he thought they were all very well satisfied with the report’s.
Mr G Kilner thought things seem to be in a satisfactory condition, seeing that they were reducing the debt at the bank . So far as he could see he considered they would be in a position to declare a dividend another day. He did not think it would be wise to do so now, because he believed it was preferable to use the money towards entirely reducing the debt, and if they had any surplus then it would for the time when they declared a dividend. (Hear, hear). He begged leave to move that the report and statement of accounts be adopted.
Mr W. Nicholson seconded.
Mr C Searle said Mr Kilner had observed that they had better pay off the debt at the bank. He (Mr Searle) believe the balance sheet would lead people astray. At the time it was made out, they had to collect £188 3s pd, after which they had to pay the bank £51 2s 7d, so they had £136 1s 2d left. He thought in the face of that, they were able to declare a dividend at the rate of 4%. They had been 10 years without receiving a dividend, and he was not surprised there was a desire now, for it. He would move an amendment that a dividend at the rate of 4% be declared.
Major Grantham: I will second that.
Mr E Crawshaw: if we adopt Mr Searle’s amendment, we shall spend all the money we have and have no working capital for the next year. Do not let us be going on at the old rate like we did some years ago, but let us make a clean sweep. We shall get clear of the bank debt this year under ordinary circumstances, and then have a very fair amount next year, and then have what I may term a good dividend. (Hear, hear).
Mr Kilner: Mr Searle moves an amendment that we declare a dividend of 4%. I should like to know where it is to come from. Will this Secretary tell us what we have to collect?
The Secretary said since 1 April this year he had paid into the bank £132 4s 7d and he had a few more pounds in hand which he should pay in.
The Chairman said out of the £188 due on 31 March something £139 has been paid, and £51 of that was cleared of the bank. Since then of course they had kept up a running account with the bank.
Mr Beavers: if Mr Harris as paid something in it only leaves £80 12s 0d to carry on with. They should certainly be something for the reserve fund. I do not believe in being in debt. I believe in paying everybody as they come for the money. (Hear, hear). I would rather go without a dividend for many years than have a dividend and be in debt. (Hear, hear).
Mr Searle said it must be borne in mind that they had money coming in. They did not sit there for themselves. They represented a large body of people, and they had been very quiet for 10 years without seeing a single farthing remuneration. They have now changed their minds. Wherewould they find another body of shareholderswho hadgone 10 years without a dividend?
Mr Beavers: Better be without money than paying it without the capital.
Mr Crawshaw thought they ought to take the earliest opportunity of discharging the bank debt, and when they had done that they may declare the dividend. (Hear, hear). They should not begin to borrow money at the bank as they did before.
Mr Searle said Mr Crawshaw’s remarks were calculated to lead the shareholders astray. They were out of debt entirely.
Major Grantham said many persons were under the impression that the company was worth nothing and that the shares were worthless.
The Chairman said he could well understand how anxious shareholders were for a dividend, and, because they were now just upon “the turn of the tide,” they thought the concern was in a position for itsoon tobegiven. He did not mean as Chairman to speak one way or the other, but he had no doubt that before long they would be able to clear up the bank debt, and have a balance in hand. They certainly ought to have something in hand in case of an emergency.
On the motion and amendment being put to the meeting,9 voted for the motion and4 for the amendment.
Appointment of Directors.
The Chairman said the next business was appointment or reappointment of directors. He was sorry that they would not be able to have Major Grantham’s services any longer, as he was leaving Conisborough. He (the speaker) was sure the directors would all agree with them that the Major was a very valuable servant. He had been connected with the company ever since its commencement and his good, shrewd and businesslike qualities had been of great service to them. (Hear, hear) He had always attended the meeting in fact even more regular that any of the other directors (hear, hear).
He thought it only right they should express to the Major their appreciation of and gratitude for his valuable services, and he was sure they would wish him Godspeed where he was going to. (Cheers)
Mr Searle said he could heartily support what the Chairman said in respect to Major Grantham. They were very sorry to lose his services. (Hear, hear).
Messres Crawshaw and Searle were re-elected and Mr W Beavers of Mexborough, and Mr T. Booth, Conisborough, were appointed in the place of Messrs Grantham and Hill.