Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Pattison's roller coaster

1899 was a difficult year for Pattison's shareholders and creditors. One minute everything looked black, the next there was renewed hope.

See what happened in the second half of April and the first half of May.

There was good news for some when the final transactions in Pattison's shares were settled:

A Glasgow telegram, states that, in view of a final settlement, in Pattison's shares to-day, over-sold operators were placed at the mercy of holders on the Glasgow Stock, Exchange yesterday. Some lots were covered at £5, as against £2. When last quoted £5 was understood to have been fixed as the maximum, but yesterday afternoon £10 was stated to have been paid for one lot of fifty shares."
Belfast News-Letter - Saturday 15 April 1899, page 8.

If I read that correctly, people who had sold more shares than they had to speculators had to pay whatever was demanded to get hold of enough to fulfill their obligations. £10 is the full price for the shares. Whoever sold that lot of 50 got the best deal of anyone. We'll learn just how good a deal when we get to the final settlement

A few days later, things looked uncertain as the liquidators' deadline for an offer approached:

A telegram from London states that the London solicitors for the syndicate posted last night to the agents for the liquidators proposals for the reconstruction of Pattisons (Limited), Leith, in liquidation. To-day is the last day the Court gave them to lodge proposals."
Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 18 April 1899, page 5.
Luckily, the syndicate got their offer in on time and it looked as if they would successfully purchase Pattison's:

"At last the Pattison reconstruction scheme is said to be nearing a success, and that only a few details of no significance have now to be adjusted. So far as can be gathered the scheme which the syndicate is to take over the assets is to pay the liquidator the sum of £345,000 for the book debts, stock, and good will, and £100,000 for the heritable property."
Freeman's Journal - Monday 08 May 1899, page 3.
Those few insignificant details turned out to be rather more significant than first reported:

The negotiations between the liquidators of Pattisons' (Limited) and a London syndicate for the purchase by the latter of the assets of the company have failed, and are declared to be at an end. The liquidators will now proceed to realise the assets in the ordinary way, and they have already advertised the brewery at Duddington for sale."
York Herald - Friday 12 May 1899, page 5.
When the brewery staff were laid off, it really looked like the end of the line for Pattison's:

Edinburgh, Saturday. On the staff being paid their wages to-day at one o'clock, they all received their notices to quit at the end of the ensuing week. On being asked, the brewer informed the men and the clerks that no further orders would be sent out, and that the brewery is to be closed."
Freeman's Journal - Monday 15 May 1899, page 2.
But wait a minute. There was another glimmer of hope. Some creditors wanted the negotiations to continue:

The Exchange Company's Edinburgh correspondent states that some of the most influential ot the creditors of Pattisons (Limited) have expressed their intention of not allowing the negotiations between the liquidators and the London syndicate to fall through, and have prepared a petition to the Court of Session asking the Court to give powers to continue business until the negotiations with the syndicate are brought to a successful issue. They are dissatisfied with the action of the liquidators in declaring that negotiations are at an end."
Pall Mall Gazette - Monday 15 May 1899, page 5.

There was a disagreement between the creditors and the liquidators on what should happen next. It would be resolved in court. Exactly how, we'll find out next time.

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