Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Maclay goes public

You know what I haven't annoyed you with for ages? The prospectus of a Scottish brewery flotation. You must have been waiting, handkerchief dabbing away the tears, at your computer these last. Finally, you'll be able to laugh again.

This is a much smaller launch than most we've seen. Maclay weren't even large by Scottish standards, not in the top three Alloa breweries. Here are two other flotations of Alloa breweries from the same period:

George Younger (1897)    £500,000
Archibald Arrol (1895)    £450,000

Based on the amount of capital, George Younger and Arrol were 6 or 7 times the size of Maclay.

Here are all the fascinating financial details that I'm sure you haven't been wetting yourselves in excitement waiting for:

"The SUBSCRIPTION LIST for the undermentioned PREFERENCE SHARES will OPEN on SATURDAY, the 8th August, 1896, and will CLOSE on

or before WEDNESDAY, the 12th August, 1896.

Incorporated under "The Companies Acts, 1862 to 1890.

CAPITAL, £75,000.
Divided into 3000 Ordinary Shares of £10 each,         £30,000
4500 Cumulative Preference Shares of £10 each, . .     45,000

2000 Ordinary Shares (all of which are to be taken
by the Vendor in part payment of purchase price),     £20,000
3500 Cumulative Preference Shares of £10 each, . .     35,000

The Preference Shares will be entitled to a Cumulative Preferential Dividend of 5 per cent, per annum, payable on 1st Marchand 1st September in each year, and will also be entitled to priority over the Ordinary Shares in respect of Capital.

The Preference shares are now offered for subscription at par, payable as follows : —
On application,     £1 per share.
On allotment,         £3 per share.
On 1st September,    £3 per share.
On 1st October         £3 per share.

The Preference shares may be paid in full on the date on which any instalment falls due. Interest at 5 per cent, per annum will run from the dates of payment of the instalments.

DIRECTORS. Alexander Fraser, Esq., Brewer. Alloa,
Managing Director. Thos. Hill, Esq., Agent, British Linen Co. Bank. Dunfermline.
John Fraser. Esq., Merchant, Dunfermline.
Daniel A. Fraser, Esq.. Merchant. Dunfermline.

Bankers— The National Bank of Scotland, Limited, Alloa, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Branches.
Solicitors— Messrs W. & W. Beveridge, Dunfermline.
Auditors— Messrs Thomson, Jackson, Gourlay, & Taylor, C.A., 24 George Square, Glasgow.
Brokers— Messrs John Miller & Quaille. 69 Saint George's Place, and Stock Exchange, Glasgow.
Secretary (pro tem) — John Wilson.
Registered Office— Thistle Brewery, Alloa.

This Company is formed for the purpose of acquiring, as at 1st July, 1896, the well-known business of Maclay & Company,

brewers, Alloa, established by the late James Maclay in the year 1830. The property acquired by the Company consists of :—

1. Thistle Brewery, with stables, dwelling-houses, and the plant, machinery, utensils, &c, therein ; a separate property

situate in Drysdale Street, Alloa; also, a new three-storey block of cellarage, offices, and brewer's house to be erected by the Vendor (according to plans prepared by Harbourne McLennan, Esq., Architect, Dunfermline), amounting in whole to a valuation of.. £13,050 10 0 

2. The moveable plant, horses and lorries, beer engines, mirrors, barrels, cases, &c, as at 1st July, 1896, valued at . . 7,491 10 0

3. Stock of barley, malt, hops, ale. &c, as valued by John Calder. Esq., brewer, Alloa, as at 1st July. 1896, . . 8,432 2 1

4. Book debts, cash, bills receivable, and other assets of the firm, amounting to . . 16,624 5 1

5. Goodwill.

6. Patent Rights.

Applications for shares should be made on the form accompanying the prospectus. The allotment will be made as early as possible after the subscription is closed, and where no allotment is made, the deposit will be returned in full. If the number of shares allotted be less than the number applied for, the balance of deposit will he credited in reduction of the payment on allotment so far as necessary, and the balance will be returned.

Prospectuses and Forms of Application can be obtained from the Company's Bankers, and Solicitors, and at the Office of the Company."
Dundee Courier - Tuesday 11 August 1896, page 1.

Another indication of the small size of Maclay is the valuation of the brewery: just £13,000. Pattison's Duddingston brewery sold for £30,000 in 1899. That was by no means an enormous brewery. And that was a knock-down price. It was originally offered at £50,000.

What surprises me is how large a part of the assets the debts were - more than the value of the brewery. Presumably these debts were mostly to publicans.

Notice one unusual asset in there? Patent rights. I know what they mean. It's Maclay's patent for Oat Malt Stout. I notice that no value is attributed to it. Was it really worth anything? Probably. For such a modestly-sized brewery, Maclay made quite an impact with their Oat Malt Stout, which they enthusiastically advertised.

One last point. Look at the list of directors. No Maclays in there, but three Frasers. James Maclay, the brewery's founder died in 1875 and his sons took over. They sold the brewery to the Fraser family of Dunfermline in 1896, who almost immediately changed it into a limited company. The Frasers had run a licensed grocer and spirit merchant business in Dunfermline. Yet another whisky business that got into brewing in the 1890's.

Yet one more last point. See who made the valuation of the stock? John Calder. The man who finally stepped down at Calder in 1961.

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