The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on December 30, 1969 · 11
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 11

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Tuesday, December 30, 1969
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Tuesday December 30 1969 11 Ueberg Dyers and Procters ' " 1 Terylene Cotton Tine nnisnes & TeryieneVincel "fabrics tor the weatherwear and MANDLEBERC OF SALFORD casual trades. 061.736 42927 I BUSINESS GUARDIAN Promptf-ffttifBrmli , Irustet ilitia ",m ltX rVlB Mtmkw ot 0 BulldlM "r annunngliLJ soctetin oiitioo ' Guardian City Office: 831 Salisbury House, London Wall, E.C.2 Editors: Anthony Harris (Economics), Andreas Whittam Smith (City)' ...nm c-rnu DiiliniNr; SOCIETY I N Ion? Sl-Ml, MkWttWn. MmB,B,r?,Z,,5i? I Teiepnone : ubi-tj joj- - Britain draws outt $175M 1.35M bid for George Braund CITY COMMENT: Nortli Flinders, Bambergers The exception not the rule BRITAIN yesterday drew $175 millions (just under 79 millions) from the International Monetary Fund the third instalment of the $1,000 millions " roll-over " standby credit agreed last June. . This, with another $150 millions due in March, will go most of the wav to repay the $400 millions still owing from loans granted bv the IMF in 1965. The purpose of the standby credit was to postpone the effective repayment of the 1965 debt for a further five years. Meanwhile, the Government continues to give priority to repayment of other foreign lags " h a v e largely been eliminated. At the beginning of the year the private sector was owed nearly 500 millions more by foreign debtors than it owed to foreign creditors. The elimination of this net private "loan" can be matched by reduction in official debt. Secondly, the sterling area countries have once more been building up their sterling reserves largely reflected in holdings by sterling area government of British Government securities. Finally, there has been a significant revival of foreign, especially German, buying of British securities. loan. As already announced by the Chancellor, Britain sees no need this year to excercise her right to waive repayment of the instalment due. Apart from the large surplus achieved on the basic balance of payments in the past nine months, the Government has been able to use three other sources of funds to repay official debts. First delays in settlements of foreign commercial debts and advance payments by British importers the " leads and New Year's Day problem something like 5 a share is a high price to pay. The rewards for spotting a poten-ial Poseidon are high but such situations are all too rare. Keeping close to the course AT least so far, Bambergers, the timber group, is keeping close to the 1969-70 course that was predicted at the August annual meeting. Interim profits have slumped, but, in line with forecasts that results for the year as a whole ' would not show a ICI share deals challenge ban By SANDY McLACHLAN and VICTOR KEEGAN debts mainly swap credits granted by foreign central banks during the past currency crises. These debts stood at just over 2,000 riillions at the beginning of the year. Repayments believed to exceed 500 millions have already been made (the details are never published). After the spectacular inflow of foreign money in November, just after German revaluation, there has been a more modest but still encouraging inflow its self-imposed silence, and "No comment" was the message from its financial advisers, Hambros. The feeling at Viyella seems to be that ICI will have to offer more detailed proposals before it needs say much, and at Courtaulds Sir Frank Kearton too seems to be awaiting developments. An ICI statement last night denied that the group's intention was to force the Government into a ban on textile mergers which aims at vertical integration. It reiterated that its policy was intended to bring into being a strong, broadly based company in the textile industry, independently managed, but with a sufficiently large shareholding by ICI to ensure that the company could not be taken over by other interests. The statement did make clear, however, ICI's disagreement with the vertical integration which has so far taken place in the industry (that is, by and large, Courtaulds' take-over policies). The second half of the statement says: "It is not ICI's intention to make this company vertically integrated with its own activities, and it is possible that if vertical integration of fibre producers and textile companies had been banned right from the beginning, ordinary market forces may have been sufficient to bring about a further rationalisation within the textile industry." "However, in the circumstances now existing in this industry. ICI considers that it is most important for its bid NORTH FLINDERS yesterday gave a sharp reminder of the follies of uninformed speculation. Poseidon is the exception, not the rule. . A denial from North Flinders of the wild rumours circulating on Christmas Eve , brought the shares crashing back down to the 85s mark less than half the Christmas J5ve closing price. The big pre-Christmas buying spree on a day when the market is usually almost completely devoid of business is hard to explain. Contact with Australia was extremely difficult, so that much of the heavy dealing went on against a background of minimal information. As usual, it seems that the inexperienced were the ones to get their fingers burnt. The professionals who nailed their colours to the Poseidon mast were, in the main, conspicuous by their absence from the Flinders flurry. Flinders seems to have been the chosen vehicle of the small punter who missed out on Poseidon, but was still determined to make easy money. In fact, many canny market men were busy taking bear positions last Wednesday morning as the less wary were forcing up the price. The closing of these bear positions was sufficient to rally the shares up to around 115s at one stage yesterday, but once these positions were unwound the shares quicklv fell back again. Dealings in the shares were again very heavy. With three jobbers making a price it is impossible to get an accurate assessment of the magnitude involved, but one jobber hazarded a guess that something like a quarter of a million shares changed hands during the day with a good two-way business at the lower price levels. Without good information it is senseless to dabble in highly volatile markets like these. Apart from anything else events can move too fast for the man who is not right on the spot, and the loss of WEISS ungenuine absenteeism at 10 Der cent, with the graph rising crazily on New Year's Day, but it will take time ana researcn to get a true answer. The reason why consultants blame management for being slow in making a decision is that the trend has been visible for a long time. People are not as afraid as they were of losing their jobs because they had a hangover on New Year's Day. In industries where the wage structure is sucn mat a man can forgo his wages and gain a holiday, the new measure of security and improved overall income invite a New Year voluntary absence. The capital involvement on a aay wnen Droduotivity is heavily impaired simply demands the sensible action of no absenteeism ; and this can only be done by full closure. There is little point in, say, a packaging section of a factory being operated when insufficient material arrives for packaging, or vice versa when the production line piles up the product which cannot be packed because the packers have taken leave of absence. In Scotland, ifter all, they have no problem witn absen teeism on flew xear s uay. By RUTH ABSENTEEISM, like the poor. will always be with us so the manager of an engineering shop said, adding, for good measure, that on New Year's Day it was limy to oe witn us even more so. The New Year's Day problem, said to be getting out of hand by some irate managements, is really a management promem. u is management that has failed to recognise it, according to one consultant. Thev should have sized up the situation several years ago ana taKen a nrm decision that opening shop on New Year's Day was simply to lose money. Overheads go on but output goes aown. The Confederation of British Industry looked into the problem of absenteeism in general in response to the concern expressed by some of their memDers. rne nrst imiig il found was the lack of statistics. Who. after all. is to call people liars when they say they are ill ? Besides, official statistics can only cover those cases reaistered with official sources and a one-day flu is unlikely to be registered even with a company's personnel department. Estimates put the total of BANKING GROUP By ANTHONY HARRIS during this month. Further significant repayments of unpublished debt have undoubtedly been made, and as a result only a modest rise in the gold and currency reserves is expected in the figures to be announced at the end of this week. These monthly figures will take credit for the IMF drawing, but this will be almost exactly offset by the repayment due on the long-term US for Viyella to proceed and for the merger of Carrington and Dewhurst with Viyella to take place." Reports that the Ministry of Technology may form a new committee headed by Mr Harold Lever, the Paymaster-General, to look into the textile industry were described as "purely speculative," by a Ministry spokesman yesterday. He added that no decision had yet been made on whether to set up a committee, and talks would begin in the next few days. It was pointed out that Government policy-makers had been out of action over Christmas and there had been no time even to think about what the Government was going to decide following ICI's bid for Viyella. It is not even clear which Government department Min-tech (which now sponsors textiles), or the DEP (with responsibility for merger policy) will have the final word. The overlapping of responsibility for textiles, and the delays this has produced, are given as one reason for ICI's decision to have a showdown and bring the whole thing out into the open. . If the ICI bid had happened six months later, it would have been a natural candidate for the Government's nronosed board formed from a merger of the Prices and Incomes Board and the Monopolies Commission. But as the terms of reference for the new body have not yet been set up, let alone legislation introduced, uus is a non-starter. qualified by the recognition that an ODeratinn nf thic UnH would require the approval of Government in view of the President of the Board of Trade's statement earlier this year. Coats Patons, among others, was consulted by the Board Of TraHa nrinr tn inn President's decision. Presum- aoiy, mererore, furtner consultation will take place and the comnanv ic time nf ..in. that it would be inappropriate i ma&e ay puuiic comment on the situation at the present iime.- ne aaaed. Whpthpr intonfinnal n. nnt ICI's bid is seen by many in mo iiiuusujr as a oriuiani other is bound to curb the ambitions of Courtaulds. The irlfla nf n PritlcV, flhfne corporation, which Mr Anthony Crosland, as President of the Board of Trade, gave an airing ai me time oi me stanastin Statpmpnt in .Tnlw nr,,,7? nnnPaP tn ha flip l-annUn,.., fnr- Courtauld's fibrous head if the gumoune does tan. There may be considerable auvamages ior uourtauias it 11 rinpc narf with ifc fihrap pila It Pnillrl Pain lorao nnncnlflfinn prizes possibly English Calico piiu aidjfue a suusianuai casn aum wiui wmcn to expand at faster rate overseas. board of Its hire-purchase finance --uinpany, west maing securities two new directors. Mr .T E favo director and general manager of tne group's depot at Tinsiey, and . uucvi aim general manager of Universal LEAVES BOARD Mr Peter C. Law has relinquished his directorship of the TulKeth Group, the Halifax- based woollen and worsted cloth manufacturers, and has also resigned from the boards of some ot its subsidiaries. FOR RIO BRIDGE N'CK-Raoier. the sales branch of Newton Chambers' construction equipment division, has sold cranes worth a total of 425,000 to South America. The group will supdIv 12 cranes for use in building of the Rio de Janeiro- .Mteroi Dnage. YARN COUNTING The change to the tex system of varn counting in the British jute industry will take effect from Thursday, when j-arns will be described in tex numbers only and the traditional lbsDind e system will cease. During 1969, dual descriptions of yarn have been used to help uie cnange. Only three weeks after completing the 2.25 millions purchase of Woodfdrds (Leicester), Nottingham Manufacturing is bidding for a second Midlands knitwear group, Geo. Braund. The offer, two non-voting A " Nottingham shares " for every nine Braund, values the company at 1.35 millions. Following the announcement yesterday, Braund jumped from 7s 6d to lis 6d, which is roughly in line witn tne value of the bid. The closing price, U' 7d below this year's peak, offers an exit price-earnings ratio of 15.8. The Braund board, ' which controls around 20 per cent of the equity, yesterday declined to comment on the offer. A statement is expected before the end of the week. It is understood that Nottingham had not made any informal approach to Braund ahead of yesterday's statement. A spokesman for Hambros Bank, which is acting for Nottingham, said yesterday that they vere called in to prepare the bid only two days before Christmas. Tesco plan by CWS In an effort to make maximum use of its extensive manufictun ing facilities, the CWS is uib-cussing the possibility of manufacturinz goods for the Tesco supermarket' group. This is not' a new departure for the CWS, which already makes goods for a -number of non-Co-op chains. But the move could provoke opposition from some retail societies, who see Tesco as a major source ot competition. A.N.Z. Bank at 30th Saptamoar & A. Bank (or 1 fiftain Month to Courtaulds? US faces grave housing crisis By our Financial Staff ICI has wasted no time in pressing on with its bid for Viyella. Schroder Wagg, the group's financial advisers, announced yesterday that on Christmas Eve more than 2 million Viyella shares were acquired at an average price or us act a snare. Id's late Christmas shop ping cost it 1.2 millions and Drought it zt per cent of tne VayeMa equity, to add to the 1 per cent or so already held by one of its subsidiaries. The share purchases. dIus those for which ICI was again in the market yesterday, seem to indicate that ICI will press ahead with the first part of its iwo-prongea textile plan without waiting for official approval. The ICI view is that the Viyella takeover does not conflict with the June mora torium on mergers among the textile Big Five, and that only me secona pare ot its plan the integration of Vivella and Carrington and Dewhurst depends on Government sanction. It is not clear who we.re the sellers of the shares which ICI acquired. A spokesman for Schroder Wagg said that they had been acquired in " dribs and drabs." But there must have been some sizeable deals iu unu in iudi numDer or shares in a restricted day's trading, and there were not many bargains marked in the shares. Beyond the announcement of Id's share purchases there was little anoarent change in the situation yesterday. The viyena ooara would not break Threat The future of Courtaulds integrated structure is now believed to be seriously in doubt as the Government prepares an inquiry into the present shape of the textile industry. ICI's bid for Viyella last week has now turned attention to the 429 millions Courtaulds group, whose wide range of operations has been the source of envy and irritation to ICI and other firms. Many of the key figures in the industry, who will be lobbying the Government in the coining weeks, believe that Whitehall is faced with two mam alternatives. Either it can allow the deal to go ahead or it can ask Courtaulds to prune its fibre side thus bringing it into line with other textile firms in this country and the world. If ICI is allowed to go ahead, the consequences will be enormous. There may well be a scramble to grab what remaining independent outlets Cotton and Wool Dyers losing 5Jd to 4s OJd. COMMODITIES Joynson's index of commodity futures prices for the United Kingdom stood at 119 46 yesterday, compared with 119 96 the previous session and 119.31 a month ago. RAW COTTON A ery restricted Liverpool spinner inquiry was directed principally to Turkish Iranian and United States cottons offered on the spot or nearby, though the latter Erowth was also sought for March-April shipment in the medium lower grades. Business returned totalled only 250 bales. WOOL AND TOPS Tod ouotations were unchanged on Bradford Exchange yesterday where the attendance was as thin as the available business. Selling prices remained firm, however, on the basis of wool values at auction at the pre-Christmas close, and sales of w ool by Bradford merchants, which were fairly good up to Christmas Eve. confirm the firmer tendency in Bradford. The Sydney wool futures market appreciated vesterday probably on Japanese buying following a rise of 2d a lb on the Nagoya (Japan) jarn futures market during the Christmas holidays. Noils are a shade more active in Bradford on American and home trade interest. substantial shortfall," the company now expects the downturn to be in the order of 15 per cent Pretax profits for the September half-year are down from 411,000 to 258,000, on turnover up from 8.2 millions to 8.6 millions. So to meet the target of 480,000 for the year to March, profits in the current half will have to rise from 155,000 to 223,000. Although the building trade is still depressed, this task is not as daunting as it might appear. In the first place, there will be nine months' profits from Marshall, Knott, and Barker, which was earning around 75,000 a year ahead of the takeover. Then there is the recovery in prices for forward timber orders after the chronic price-cutting of the past year which the company has secured. Thirdly, the central heating venture, established in conjunction with certain gas boards, is going through a strong growth phase. And, finally, the group is enjoying buoyant demand from the renovating sector of the building trade, an area in which Bambergers has been expanding rapidly. The share closed steady at 10s following release of the report yesterday, where the prospective price - earnings ratio is around 9.5. Until the building cycle turns upwards again, this appears to be enough. political inquiry into the building field." A sharp drop in housing starts has been one of the major consequences of the US money squeeze, as savings and loan companies have been unable to bid for funds. Escalattaig costs have aggravated tie problem of short funds aifil high interest rates. The fcast as a whole, by 11 ieadin&businpRR prnnnmicfc is urtusi&lly .hedged with reservations. Most of the 11 PXDPPf &nmf mlavnf inn nt Governments policies, under tne pressure of the housing crisis and the risk of a recession. But real growth is forecast ns verv clnro mill. slower price inflation and rising unemployment properties, London County was unresponsive to the increased bid by Metropolitan Estates. WALL STREET NEW YORK. Stocks finished lower yesterday after carryover demand from las' week evaporated Murine t-ha fksi Trade was moderateljjsiactive! The Dow Jones indiBBrial average closed 523 iSftr at iifi.il. NORTHERN The market was firm in litpst sections, and industrials, fodds and stores all had outstanding features. Gilts reflected the strength in sterling, and were in good form, while engineerings and breweries also showed good spots. The main feature, however, was the rise in llanchester Liners, whose price rose by 20s 6d to 106s 3d. Furness Withy, however, shed 9d to 73s 7d. Turner and New all was in con-stant demand in industrials, putting on ?ld to 32s, while Ernest Scragg stood out in eiosweerings, snowing a net rise of 6jd to lis 2Jd. Mather and Piatt was 3Jd up at 20s 63d, and Hargreaes was steadv at 2s 7d. Textiles were out of favour, however, and Carrington and Dewhurst slipped back bv another 8d to 10s 0d. Coats Patons, Courtaulds and English Calico also shed ljd, with British The United States now faces i housing crisis so grave that the Government may be forced to make major economic policy concessions, according to Walter E. Hoadley, vice-president of the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association. Contributing to a national industrial conference board group forecast for 1970, Hoadley says: "The housing shortage will be the worst since World War II. About 50 per cent of the families in the country seem to be priced completely out of the housing market. " The Vietnamese veterans may prove to be the critical factor leading to a major I MARKET REPORTS Highlights from the Statement by the Chairman, The Right Hon. Lord Carrington, P.C., K.C.M.G., M.C. Good progress made in complex task of merging Australia and New Zealand Bank and The English, Scottish and Australian Bank. Objective is to achieve "Unity Day" by 1st October, 1970, when A.N.Z. Banking Group will become the operating trading bank. The new group operates not only in the fast growth area of the Pacific but has effective links throughout the world and particularly with the British banking system and money markets in London, Europe and North America. t Number of branches of merging banks increased by 21 since last year: New York office opened in December 1968 now fully established and operating successfully: activities in Japan furthered by representative office recently opened in Tokyo. Gross income increased in all sectors of business but Group adjusted profits marginally down compared with the previous year due to -salary increases and heavy costs incurred in further expansion of computer installations. Once again savings bank subsidiaries and, in particular, Esanda Ltd., the hire purchase subsidiary, make valuable contributions to overall results. Warm appreciation expressed to 18,000 staff for an enthusiastic and successful year's work. Australia and New Zealand-the main fields of the Group's operations-are enjoying high levels of prosperity, with prospects for continued rapid growth. Outlook for two merging banks shows that the new A.N.Z. Banking Group is commencing operations at a challenging time. Not quite so frantic By BRIAN WHITE are available with many of the foreign yarn producers, who are worried about their position in the UK, being forced to pile in The US-owned Monsanto group has already issued a scarcely veiled warming. "Clearly, we have a very significant investment in the UK and we cant really be passive in a situation where we have plants and no customers," the marketing director, Mr Eric Sharpe, said. In spite of Id's assertion In its statement last night that it does not intend to make Viyella-Carrington vertically integrated with its own activities, there remains a strong suspicion in the industry that its 35 to 40 per cent shareholding in the joint company would inevitably affeot yarn-buying policies. One of the dark horses in the current situation is the 158 millions Coats Patons group, ii, as seems iiKely in the current situation, there is a direct relationship between the lack of comment from a company and its involvement in behind the scene manoeuvring, then Coats is a company worth watching. A spokesman pointed out that the ICI statement was BUSINESS BRIEFS Christmas output was record fWER the Christmas holi-" days, in the week that ended on Sunday naming, the plate mill of Consett Iron Works, part of the British Steel Corporation, produced its highest tonnage of 9,307 tons in a single week. INSURANCE POST The Associated Offices Technical Committee has appointed Mr F. Smithson as its chief engineer. Mr Smithson retired earlier this year as manager and chief engineer of the engineering insurance department of the Commercial Union. NEW DIRECTORS The T. C. Harrison Group, of Sheffield, has appointed to the 1968 '000 1969 '000 Consolidated Net Profit 6.336 6,918 Cost of Dividends 2,688 3.055 Total Shareholders' Funds 52,988 66,851 Deposits 1,094.781 1,241,527 Advances 559,059 644,686 Total Assets 1,385,011 1,579.254 Another heavy day's dealings in Australian nickel shares provided the feature of stock markets when businec. was resumed on the London Stock Exchange after the four-day holiday break yesterday but conditions were not quite so frcntic as they were on the days preceding the holiday. After an erratic morning most Australians moved ahead to close higher on the day. but North Hinders were an outstanding exception. After their staggorinz rise on Christmas Eve, Flinders opened at 90s, and rallied to Ills 3d before ending tno day no less than 100s lower tt 80s. Poseidon again had a comparatively quiet day but rallied from a low point of 77i to finish two points down at 80. Textiles often lost part of the gams scored following last week's ICI bid for Viyella, but George Braund jumped 2s 6d to 10s 6d on the surprise bid by Nottingham Manufacturing. In BUTTERFIELD ILLUMINATED SIGNS ThtlSGB amounts represent a notional consolidation ot tha figures of 1968 and E. S. & A. Bank at 30th Juna 1368. Tha 1969 consolidatad Nat Profit figure includas profits of E. S. pariod. Copies of the Report and Accounts with full text of the Chairman's Statement may bs obtained from the Secretary, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited 71 CORNHIU, LONDON, E.C.3. Incorporating A.N.Z. Bank and E.S. & A. Bank

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