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The eighth annual general meeting was held this afternoon and attended by about twenty shareholders, Mr J. Roberts (chairman of directors) presiding, chairman's ahdrkss. The Chairman addressed the meeting as follows With your permission we will as usual take the report as read, and it now devolves upan me to move formally the adoption of the report and balance-sheet to June SO last, which has been in your hands for the past month. On this occasion 1 need not trouble you with many remarks, as the balance-sheet speaks for itself, and the results shown therein are, 1 venture to think, entirely satisfactory to the great bedy of tire shareholders. As regards the bonus of 5 per cent., which the directors recommend should be this year distributed to shareholders, over and above their usual dividend, I may explain that during last year the company were, much again.t their will, forced into purchasing sheep to keep their works going, and to enable them to fulfil tho freight engagements which they had made. These purchases resulted in a profit of L 2,2.0, In distributing which the directors thought that it was only right that shareholders should reap a portion of tho benefit, seeing that bad there been a loss they wou’d certainly have had te make it good. They therefore applied LI,OOO of the profit to writing down tho works, ond the balance of L 1.200 they recommended should be given as a bonus, which this meeting has now to confirm. The total amount wri'ten off for depreciation, you will observe, is L2.387-a sum equal to 10 per cent, on buildings and machinery at both works, with the exception of the stone buildings at Oanuru, upon which 5 per cent, only is allowed. I am quite sure that this meeting will agree with the directors that in a bu-inesa such as ours it is absolutely necessary that ample provision should be made each year for depreciation, the wear and teir on tho machinery being very great, and there being, moreover, always a certain risk of improved and more economical methods of frcizing Icing invented, which the company should be in a position to at once adopt. The steady increase in the number of carcasses frozen is very gratifiying; still, the works have never been kept employed to their full capacity. The Oamaru works can freeze 200.000 carcasses per annnm, and store 20,000; the Burnside works can freeze 145,000 carcasses per annum, and store 14,000; so that, if both works were kept f ally employed, 845,000 carcasses oonl.l be frozen and shipped, instead of the 177,504 carcasses mutton and lamb and 3,453 quarters of beef chipped this year. I may say that the weight of beef is equal to 10,500 sheep of 601ba each; so that actually equal to 188.000 carcasses were frozen this year, as against equal to 151,200 last year, an increase of equal to 36,800 carcasses. Last year I pointed out as an interesting fact the tendency which exists towards increased shipments by fewer shippers. The average number of carcasses four years ago was 840, distributed among 120 shippers. Last year the average was 1,310 to 71 shippers, and this year 76 shippers sent away nearly 2,500 carcasses each. Tho explanation is that year by year there are more purchasers operating in the local market, which is all in favor tf the pnducer. When a fanner can get say 2d per lb for Lis fat sheep, retaining skin and fat, he has no reason to go speculating on the London muketj and most of our farmers, I am glad to say, take this sensible view of the position. You will notice in the rep si t that the directors issued to tho public at par the unallotted shares, and that they were so readily subscribed shows confidence in tho management and prospects of the company. There has not been the same trouble this year in regard to rates of freight as has been the case in the past. About November last there was an inclination amongst shipowners to raise the rate on frozen meat, seeing that rates on other cargo had been increased. The directors opposed the increase, and finding that the shipowners were indisposed to give way they chartered, in conjunction with the Timaru and Southland Companies, the new steamer Nairnshire, at l.jd per lb for three years, after which there 'was an end to any proposition for higher rates. Last year, when addressing you, I refened to the handsome way in which Messrs Turnbull, Martin, ard 00., of Glasgow—the managing owners of the Shire line of steamers—had met the company, by reducing the rate of freight on ■their current charters of tho Fifeshire and Elderalie by id per lb, and I feel sure that- such a • concession will not bs forgotten by shippers. The directors havb never lost sight of the necessity for getting all the meat frozen at Oamaru shipped there; but hitherto theie have not been sufficient

vessels in the trade suitable for the port. That want is now being remedied, several cargo boats being about to be placed in the trade by the different companies. When they begin to run there wdl be no difficulty in getting all the produce of the Oamaru works shipped from its natural port. During the year the works ar cl machinery have been maintained in a high_ state of efficiency. At Burnside no additions have been made, but the directors have _ recently let a contract for sinking an 8 inch bore with the view of procuring, if possible, an artesian supply of water. A better water supply has become an absolute necessity, owing to the pollution of the present source (the Kaikorai strerm), and the impossibility of obtaining an adequate supply elsewhere. Before entering upon this contract the directors obtained the opinion of Sir James Hector and other geologists, who are of opinion that an ample supply of pure water will be got at a depth not exceeding I,oooft. At Oamaru two new boilers and a fuel economiser have been put in, which will, we trust, mean a large saving in coal. Wo have also completed a large new ste'e to hold 5 000 sheep, and are building ahouse for the engineer, close to the works. The expenditure on these buildings will c:me in to next year’s accounts. It is very encouraging to note that on the whole fairly good returns have bees secured by shippers during the past year. The sudden and great rise in values in London during June and July was no doubt due to exceptional causes, chiefly to the stoppage of supplies from Germany owing to foot and mouth disease, and to the i mall stocks held in London. I question much the benefit to be derivel from such extremely high piioes os were ruling in London during June, as the natural result must be to drive the article out of consumption in some quarters; and I think it is much more to the real interest of the trade to have a steady level of values, so that the shipper can rely on getting a fairly remunerative price on the average rather than getting at one time an unduly handsome return, while at another the very reverse is the care. An even range of values is alee manifestly in the interests of oonsumera. There is no doubt, however, that of late there has been a vast improvement in the system of distribution through the chief centres of population in the provinces, by which the Smithfleld market is relieved ; and this is, I am sure, one cause of the improved values. The large purchases made on the spot, at 2d per lb and over, seem to indicate that the improvement will bo permanent. I trust we have seen the last of the ruinously low prices of the {last few years. The enormous development of the trade can be judged from the figures published by Messrs P. Cunningham ana Co., of Christchurch, which appeared In our papers a few days ago. From these we learn that the export of frozen meat from this colony between 30th June, 1888, aul SOth June, 1889, was equal to 1,103,965 sheep—viz, 874,102 sheep, 132,643 lambs, 62,321 legs and pieces of mutton, and a weight of beef equal to 10,588 head of cattle averaging 7501b each, The shipments from the different provincial districts are as follow Sheep. Lambs. Cattle. Legs Pieces. Auckland .. 6.438 8,408 263 Napier .. 233,264 11,924 2,618 400 .. Wellington .. 221,821 14.825 0,652 81,921 400 CanterMry 1 chu'lob, WW 71 - 017 2W •• Tiamtu .. ) Otago— ) Punedin, f 2!5 - 192 3, -« l 1017 " “ Bluff Totals .. 874,102 132,045 10,687 82,321 400 The export from Canterbury, Mr Cunningham estimates, would have been increased by 129,000 to 150,000 sheep had it not been for the unfortunate fire at Belfast works. Whether or not the colony has reached its utmost output of frozen mutton remains still to bo shown. Persona'ly lam of opinion (and recent sheep returns bear mo out) that the increase of this article of export has so nearly reached its maximum that any further increase will be slow and very gradual. Beef is in a very different position, and I think if prices can only bo secured that would remunerate the shipper, a very la’go number of cattle would be disposed of in this way. Hook to (he increase of the frozen meat trade being derived more from this source, and from the North Island, thm from mutton.

I think I have touched upon all the points which are likely to bo of interest to sharaholde a and shippers; and with these remarks I beg to move the adoption of the report and balancesheets, which carries with it the dec’aration of the dividend and bonus.

Mr J, Mill seconded the motion, and in doing so desired to say that it must be very pleasing to the shareholders to find that the directors were alive to the interests not only of the shareholders but those of every farmer and equatter in Otago. To his mind, the freezing and shipping companies had done more to keep up the credit of New Zealand than any Government that ever occupied the Ministerial benches at Wellington. The motion was put and carried non. con. ELECTIONS. The next business was the election of two directors in place of Messrs A. C. Begg and John Reid, who retired in turn. Mr Menloyb proposed the re-election of the gentlemen named. Mr Reid was in London, but he had been of great service to the company there. Mr E. Wilson seconded the motion, which was carried without dissent. Mr Brydone proposed and Mr J. T. Wrioiit seconded the reappointment of Mr Callander as auditor, at a remuneration of thirty guineas. -Carried unanimously. THANKS, On the motion of Mr G. G. Russell a hearty vote of thanks was accorded the chairman and directors, and

The meeting terminated, having lasted just a quarter of an hour.

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