It was a wet weekend in Amsterdam. Very wet. Persistent rain with the odd burst of stair-rods and occasional taunting splash of sunshine. Not much to tempt me out of doors, I got stuck into some research. The hands dirty, back-breaking type of work. Looking for financial reports in the newspaper archive.
It's not what you'd call exciting. Not particularly difficult, just time-consuming and tedious. They're not hard to find. Companies issued their annual report on pretty much the same date each year. What's annoying is the inconsistency of the figures they report. Sometime the gross profit, sometimes the net profit. And sometime they'll say it's the net when it's really the gross. Sorting out which is which isn't a barrel of laughs, either.
But I think it's worth it. Because it's told me quite a lot about Barclay Perkins as a company between the wars. The most obvious is that they were financially healthy. That helps me to understand how, despite falling output during the 1920's, they managed to remain an independent company. This might help to explain, too:
The capital of Barclay, Perkins, Co., the London brewers, was originally in Ordinary shares of £100 and Preference shares £10 each. In 1911 a reorganization had to be arranged, and the Ordinary shares were written down in nominal value to £1 and the Preference shares to £4 each. There are 10,200 £1 Ordinary shares in issue, and are mostly held privately. Occasionally a few shares come to the Stock Exchange and at the moment 20 shares are available, for which the market is asking £97 10s. per share. Last year a dividend of £8 per share was paid. This accounts for the high price asked for the shares by the market, but it should be realized that this dividend is equal to 8 per cent, on the original capital."
Western Morning News - Saturday 26 June 1926, page 9.
With a small number of shares, privately held, it would be extremely difficult for an outsider to control of the company
Here are all the figures*:
|Barclay Perkins financial results 1917 - 1939|
|Year||operating profit||net profit||brought in||carried forward||dividend Ordinary shares||to contingency reserve||contingency reserve||to provident fund||barrels brewed||net profit per barrel|
|Aberdeen Journal - Friday 22 June 1923, page 11.|
|Aberdeen Journal - Thursday 23 June 1927, page 10.|
|Aberdeen Journal - Wednesday 19 June 1935, page 14.|
|Derby Daily Telegraph - Saturday 22 June 1929, page 11.|
|Dundee Courier - Monday 22 June 1936, page 2.|
|Dundee Courier - Tuesday 23 June 1931, page 2.|
|Dundee Courier - Wednesday 20 June 1934, page 2.|
|Dundee Courier - Wednesday 21 June 1933, page 2.|
|Dundee Courier - Wednesday 23 June 1926, page 2.|
|Edinburgh Evening News - Friday 17 June 1932, page 3.|
|Hull Daily Mail - Wednesday 19 June 1935, page 6.|
|Western Morning News - Thursday 21 June 1934, page 9.|
|Western Morning News - Wednesday 23 June 1926, page 7.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 22 June 1928, page 17.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 23 June 1922, page 15.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 20 June 1921, page 11.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 21 June 1920, page 12.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 23 June 1924, page 15.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 23 June 1930, page 15.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 20 June 1936, page 23.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 21 June 1934, page 15.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 22 June 1939, page 15.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 21 June 1938, page 14.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 28 June 1932, page 16.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 30 June 1931, page 15.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 23 June 1937, page 16.|
|Document ACC/2305/1/711/1 in the London Metropolitan Archives|
Intersting that the years where they made the most profit per barrel were during WW I. They'd really struggled before the war, as many brewers had. Even Snowden's 1931 emergency budget doesn't seem to have made much of a dent in Braclay Perkins' profits.
The average dividend between 1920 and 1939 was 8.2%. At a time when there wasn't really any inflation, that's a pretty good return. If you could get hold them, Barclay Perkins' shares were a good investment, with a steady, reliable return.
* After the writing down of the Ordinary share value from £100 to £1 in 1911, up until 1928 the dividends mostly look crazily high - 800 or 1,000%. I'm giving them as a %age of the original share capital as it gives a more realistic picture.