Thursday, 23 January 2014

Camden Brewery raises capital

I've managed to track down details of the Camden Brewery's transformation into a public company. The exact when and how much. It turns out 1889 was the correct date.

"Parr's Banking Company and the Alliance Bank, Bartholomew-lane, and its London branches, are authorised to receive applications for 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock and Preference Shares in the Camden Brewery Company, the former to the amount of £150,000, bearing 4.25 per cent. interest, and the latter to the extent of £100,000, carrying a dividend of 5 per cent. The Debenture Stock will become payable on the 1st day of March, 1940, but is redeemable, at the Company's option, on or after the 1st day of March, 1920, at £110 for each £100 Stock. The interest on the Debenture Stock is payable half yearly, on the 1st of March and the 1st of September in each year, and the dividends on the Preference Shares are also payable on the same dates for the periods ending respectively the 30th of June and the 31st of December. The first payment of interest and dividends, calculated from the due dates of the instalments, will be made on the 1st of September, 1895. The dividends on the Preference Shares are cumulative, and the memorandum and articles of association of the Company provide that the Preference Shares shall have priority over all other shares of the Company, both as regards dividend and capital. The Company was formed in the year 1889, and acquired the brewery business established in 1889 by the late firm of Garrett, Whitaker, Grimwood, and Co., with the premises situate in Camden-town, where the Company have since carried on the business. Particulars as to the profits and properties are given in the prospectus. The share capital of the Company is 15,000 5 per Cent. Cumulative Preference Shares of £10 each, £150,000, 10,000 only of which it is proposed to issue at the present time, the remaining 5,000 being reserved for future issue, and ranking pari passu with the present one ; and 12,000 Ordinary Shares of £10 each, £120,000 (all of which were issued as fully paid up on the incorporation of the Company)."
Morning Post - Tuesday 19 March 1895, page 6.

The company was established with a capital of £120,000. Though, based on other brewery flotations, the 12,000 ordinary shares were probably divided up amongst the partners and wouldn't actually have brought in any cash. Raising another £250,000 just six years later implies that the business was doing well. Investors certainly did, as this issue was massively over-subscribed:

"Letters of allotment and regret in the Camden Brewery Company (Limited) have been posted. The total amount applied for was, it is stated, upwards of £1,750,000."
Pall Mall Gazette - Tuesday 26 March 1895, page 5.

It seems those 5,000 Preference Shares which were held back were issued, because in 1899 the capital was already £420,000 when they attempted to raise a further £200,000:

"The Camden Brewery Company, with a share capital of £270,000 and £150,000 4.25 per Cent. 1st Mortgage Debenture Stock, announces an issue of £200,000 4.25 per Cent. B Debenture Stock, at £103 per £100 Stock, which will become payable at par on the 1st day of March, 1940, but is redeemable at the Company's option and on six months' notice, on or after the 1st day of March, 1920, at £110 for each £100 Stock, and the like premium will be given in case of payment off for any other reason before the 1st day of March, 1940. The prospectus states: "The Company was incorporated in the year 1889 for the purpose of acquiring and carrying on the well-known brewery business established by the late firm of Garrett, Whitaker, Grimwood, and Co., at Hawley-crescent, Camden-town. Since the Company's incorporation the business has largely increased, and additional capital is now sought for the repayment of temporary loans on premises recently acquired, and for the purchase of other licensed properties and the further extension of the business.""
Morning Post - Saturday 10 December 1898, page 7.

That they wanted the money to invest in tied houses as no surprise. Most brewers were frantically buying pubs in the 1890's, especially in London. Eventually almost all London pubs were tied to a brewery.

£620,000 is a lot of capital compared to most of the Scottish breweries I've looked at. But a brewery based in London would need more dosh because pubs in the capital cost more money.

The Camden Brewery made healthy profits in the 1890's, as we'll be seeing soon.

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