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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

The New Zealand Loan and Mer-Cantile Agency co. (Limited)

The New Zealand Loan and Mer-Cantile Agency co. (Limited).

This company has, comparatively speaking, a distinct sphere of operations almost wholly its own as a company, and was inaugurated in London in 1865, the original memorandum of association bearing date 5th of April of that year. It has long since, it will be seen, attained its majority. The capital was originally £500,000, consisting of £20,000 shares of £25 each, and has been gradually increasing, until the authorised amount stands at £4,500,000, of which £4000 has been subscribed. The Reserve Fund was in 1867 (two years after commencing business), £5000. This was doubled the next year, and the amount has been systematically built up at frequent intervals since. The sum now at credit in this connection is no less than £270,000.

These figures tell a tale of great and rapid progress, and indicate something of the magnitude of the company's operations. During the first eight months of its existence, the company paid a dividend of 6 per cent.: from 1866 to 1870,10 per cent.; from 1871 to 1874. 10 per cent., with a bonus of 2½ per cent.; and from 1875 to date (15 years), 10 per cent., with a bonus of 5 per cent.

Owing to the growth of the company's operations, it was recently found expedient to effect a change in its constitution, by dividing the Australian and New Zealand business, and the establishment of a head office in Melbourne for Australia, leaving the New Zealand head office in Auckland, as before, with Mr. Battley in charge; also of concentrating the control in the London Board, thus dispensing with the necessity for a colonial Board of Directors.

The company has its branches and agencies at every important centre in this colony. Its large and comprehensive business embraces general financing and agencies of almost all kinds; dealing as brokers in all varieties of colonial produce; shipping on consignment to London. America, and elsewhere, Naturally enough, in a colony like New Zealand, which is chiefly pastoral and agricultural in its pursuits, the company's principal handlings have consisted of wool, grain, and frozen meat, and latterly of hemp. It is worthy of note that during last season the company passed through its hands no less than 186,000 bales of wool, a larger quantity than any other single institution in the world. It is yet too early for its record of the current season to be known.

The company has a strong London Board, including, as it does. Sir James Fergusson (one of our New Zealand Governors), Sir E. W. Stafford, Sir George Russell, the Right Hon. A. J. Mundella, and Messrs. Thomas Russell and Falconer Lark worthy. The last-named gentleman is managing director, and is the only one of those whose names appeared on the original articles who is now on the directorate. He recently passed round the colony on an official tour of inspection.