given bv the Directors, chiefly relating to difficulties in factory building and other technical obstacles, but what nnist bemainreason — namely, the fall in the price of rubber — is still operative, anil under these circumstances the progress claimed by the Directors is somewhat far to seek. The report is deficient in some very necessary details, such as the amount of rubber handled and the prices realised. In the absence of these hard facts the shareholders are hardly likely to be satisfied witli pious opinions as to the Company's future.
The Financial Times — London, 16 November 1911. — pag 6.
United Malaysian Rubber.
The plantation rubber industry in the Middle East lias been unfortunate in the fact that the very great succes attending its inception attracted a number of more or less unscrupulous promoters, who used the rubber boom as a means of floating off undesirable propositions on the public at remarkably high prices. As a rule, these ventures, which have seriously prejudiced the value of the shares of companies of the better sort, we re not plantation companies at all, but were pronioted under concessions of various sorts for the collection, preparation and marketing of wild rubber. The number of failures among this particular group of undertakings has been extraordinarily high, and it is a matter of satisfaction to lis tliat, while giving full credit to the proSt-earning power of properly-organised plantation companies, we have persistently warnedour readers against the risks involved in enterprises relying mainly upon the profits from the collection of w ild rubber. A partïcularly flagrant instance of the dangers we refer to, and of the optimistic assumptions made by their iiromoters, is provided by the first annual report of the United Malaysian Rubber Company, upon which we briefly commented yesterday, a concern tloated some eighteen months ago to exp'.oit certain concessions in Sarawak and elsewere for the collection of "jelutong" from wild trees and the extraction~of the rubber contents by a patent process. The report is of a very unsatisfactory character, exliibiting an actual loss on working of £ 41,900, and shareholders perusing it must be inclined to wipe their eves and wonder whetlier thepromisein the prospectus of an initial profit of £ 160,000 for the first half-year's working can have been a mere dream. The discrepancy between such a big profit and the actual loss realised is so great as to leave it a matter of wonder how the prospectus estimates could possibly have been compiled, and the surprise is increased wlien it is remembered that the Board includes the names of two such well-known American financial magnates as Mr. Cornelius Vaxdekbilt and j\lr. Robekt Goelet. We imagine that anyone who subscribed for the shares on the strength of seeing their names on the "front page" will be inclined to look witli suspicion upon American financial ventures for some time to come. There were, we imagine, few among our readers who came within that category, for at the time of the flotation we took occasion to point out strongly the risky character of the enterprise and the way in which the value of the shares in the American Company, which constituted the sole assets acquired, had been inflated by intermediary profits. "The venture", we added, can scarcely be described as other tlian heavily capitalised and of a speculative nature, for the business has yet to be thoroughly established as an industrial undertaking."
The last remark has proved to be singularly well justilied, for it is now admitted that the process of manufacture was not perfected when the business was acquired, and the results of the first year's working to 31st May last suggest that the venture was really in its initial stages and that there was no justification for the high price at which the shares of the American Malaysian Company, which owned the concessions and patent process, were acquired. It mav be remarked that the total capital of the United Malaysian Rubber Company is £ 2,000,000, in £ 1 shares, of which £ 400,000 was subscribed for in cash. The whole of this, in cash and shares, was used to acquire the stock of the Malaysian Rubber Company, of the nominal value of $ 4,000,000, or about £824,000. The excuse for this extravagant purchase was that dealings in the dollar shares had taken place in New York at 100 per cent. premium. The Malaysian Company had a working capital of about £ 2(50,000, but the whole of this has now been expended, mainly on extensions and iniprovements in the factory at Goebilt and the building of the new factory at Karimon, with the result that last August an attempt was made to raise further working capital by an issue of £ 100,000 in Six per Cent. Cumulative Preference shares. Of that projected issue nothing whatever has been heard since, and curiously enough 110 mention is made of it in the present report, which, although the accounts are made up to 31st May, is dated lOth instant.