Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Takeover time in Scotland

The 1950's was the startr of huge process of consolidation in the UK brewing industry. In Scotland it took even more extreme form than in England. By the end of 1960's only a handful of Scottish breweries remained. 

"Pending brewery fusion
In view of current rumours, the directors of William McEwan and Co and James Deuchar announce that preliminary discussions have taken place between them as to a possible fusion of interests, but as yet nothing has been decided.

William McEwan are Edinburgh brewers with an issued capital of £1,000,000 and total assets of £5,716,000. They have a working agreement with William Younger and Co through Scottish Brewers.

James Deuchar are Newcastle brewers, owning some 125 licensed houses. Their issued capital £550.000. while their latest assets total was £2,584,000. Both companies account to April 30.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 16 October 1954, page 9.

The Deuchars are almost as confusing as the Youngers. Robert Deuchar, another Newcastle firm, owned a brewery in Duddingston, Edinburgh. And there was James Deuchar brewing in Montrose. They all seem to have ended up in Scottish & Newcastle.

The relationship between two of Edinburgh's largest brewers, William McEwan and William Younger was a bit strange. They'd formed a joint venture, Scottish Brewers, in 1930, but the two brewers remtained separate limited companies, with their own separate boards. It wasn't until 1955 that they finally fully merged into a single legal entitiy.

"Breweries take-over plan
The shareholders of Scottish Brewers. Ltd.. William Younger & Co, Ltd., brewers, and William McEwan & Co., Ltd., brewers, are to meet to consider a proposal by the directors of the three companies that Younger and McEwan should become wholly-owned subsidiaries Scottish brewers.

In three petitions presented the Court of Session in Edinburgh it was stated that the directors are of opinion that it would be in the interests all three companies as a group, and of each company separately, that Younger and McEwan should become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Scottish Brewers. The debenture stock and preference shares of Younger and McEwan should be eliminated, the holders receiving in exchange debenture stock or preference shares of Scottish Brewers.

Such an arrangement, the petitioners state, would enable the raising of capital to be effected as a central operation through Scottish Brewers, if and when necessary. The three companies yesterday obtained the authority of the second division of the Court Session to summon separate meetings of the shareholders at which the scheme might be considered.
Belfast News-Letter - Wednesday 25 May 1955, page 10.

This structure didn't last that long. In 1960 they merged with Newcastle Breweries to become Scottish & Newcastle.

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