Tuesday, 25 September 2012

English Lager Beer Brewery wound up (part two)

As often in these financial disasters, a bank paid a central role.

Remember that up until this point none of the directors had turned up to the meeting.
"The Chairman, in answer to Mr. Dyer, said he had been informed that an execution was levied on Saturday by the National Bank of Wales. The Committee were of opinion that any winding up should be perfectly independent of the Bank or those representing it.

Mr. Stevens, who said he represented shareholders to the extent of £4,000, alluded to a passage in the prospectus (dated January, 1890) with which the Company originated. One paragraph stated that a contract bad been entered into, dated 7th November, 1889, between Charles Stewart Colley of the one part and Arthur James Evans as trustee for the Company on the other part, and that that contract might be seen at the office of the Company's solicitors. That was an important document but it had not been produced when they called for it. Perhaps Mr. Humby could throw some light upon it ?

 Mr. Humby said in some way the contract was lost. He said it was left with the Bank of Wales but the Bank said " No." At an early point in the constitution of the Company, two years ago, the contract was called for and could not be found. But (in answer to Mr. Dyer) the draft could be obtained.

Mr. Dyer—Perhaps Mr. Humby can tell us whether under that contract any shares were issued fully paid up, or to be issued ?

Mr. Humby—No.

Mr. Stevens thought the money taken could hardly have paid the brewer's salary.

In the course of discussion it was stated that the directors named upon the prospectus were F. E. Crawshay, J.P., Bridgend, Glamorganshire, Chairman, deputy-chairman of tbe National Bank of Wales; A. T. Perkins, J.P., East Court, Wells, Somerset; Major R. Howell, Oaklands, Aberdare, Glamorganshire, director of the National Bank of Wales; John Bellamy Payne, millowner and manufacturer, Chard, Somerset; James P. Hall, Bathampton. The first three, added the Chairman, appeared to be still directors, and the last six months Col. Perkins seemed to have discharged the duties of managing director. Mr. Payne, an exceedingly old man, never seemed to have acted; Mr. Hall, on becoming secretary, by the articles of association ceased to be a director.

At this point Col. Perkins entered, and explained that he had travelled from Cardiff and been detained. In answer to a question he said he had neither seen the other directors, heard of them, nor had communication with them.

The Chairman said he thought from what had come to his knowledge tbat the liquidator should have power to go to the courts for assistance. A resolution to wind np the Company having been carried, the question of the appointment of liquidator was raised.

Mr. Ferguson said the shareholders and the committee had been most shabbily treated. He would, however, say this—he was sure there was nothing wilful on the part of Colonel Perkins, but that it was want of business capacity. He did not suppose he would have allowed the Company to get into that serious state had he known otherwise.

Colonel Perkins said he knew there had been mis-management, and if he had to give evidence on oath he would say things in his own defence he would leave unsaid now. But he could not hold himself entirely to blame ; he was but one of a body, and had been over-ruled. He was anxious for a thoroughly independent inquiry.

It was decided to appoint as liquidator Mr. Benjamin Newstead, of the firm of J. F. Lovering and Co., chartered accountants, 3, Church-passage, Guildhall, London, and it was further resolved to instruct and empower him to apply to the Court forthwith for an order that the Company be wound up compulsorily, or under the supervision of the Court.

The Chairman alluded to the celerity with which the National Bank of Wales had put in its execution, and Colonel Perkins said he believed the reason was there was another imminent. He added that if he had been wrong in not taking measures with regard to the writ, it was because he did not know what to do with such a document. —(laughter)—as he had had no experience with them The Colonel added that he had all the books in his care after the Committee of investigation finished, and had kept the business going by paying small payments and receiving the same."
Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 10 August 1893, page 3.

Losing the contract with Mr. Colley seems rather careless. Unless, of course, it had never existed in the first place. No shares seem to have been sold on account of it, at any rate.

It must have been quite a sight when poor old Col. Perkins finally turned up. There's something very fishy about the way the other directors left Perkins to face the shareholders. And the way he'd been left to try and run the company. He seemed terribly out of his depth, will-meaning as he might have been. His oblique remarks about the evidence he would give on oath suggest some dodgy dealing by the other directors.

And isn't it odd that one of the directors was chairman of the National Bank of Wales and another a director? The very bank that was trying to have the company wound up. There seems to be a conflict of interest at the very least.

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