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BANK OF NEW ZEALAND., Issue 8046, 24 October 1889
BANK OF NEW ZEALAND.
Published at 6.30 p.m.
AUCKLAND, October 24. The annual meeting of the Bank of New Zealand commenced at half-past two this afternoon. The following report was read:—The result of the half-year's operations is as follows: Net profit for the half-year ended 30th September, 1889, after appropriation for bad and doubtful debts (with an exception explained in the president's speech), L 40.961 4a 9d, to which has been added the balance from the half-year ended 30th March, 1889, L 55.356 12s Id; makiDg a total available of L 96.347 17a 4d, which it is proposed to appropriate as follows: Dividend at 7 per cent, per annum, L 39.375; balance carried forward, L 56.972 17s 4d. The dividend is payable to-morrow. The balance-sheet shows coin and cash balances, L 2,056,000. Advances have inincreased by L 560.000 of a sound character.
The Chairman said there had been a reduction of the ordinary deposits by L 52.000, which, on a total of eight milliono, was trivial. The profits realised were below expectation, this being largely owing to the exceptional charges, and this being a leas active and profitable half year. The bank's current business was sound. A larger amount of bad business had been cleared from the books, resulting in an income deficiency in that part of the account; but the bulk of the assets remaining were landed properties which were reasonably expected to realise well in an improving market. The share registers were open to shareholders free, and to the public on payment. The resignation of Mr Buckley, and the circumstances attending it, occurring at an important juncture, placed the Board in a position of peculiar difficulty, and had led them to recommend shareholders to transfer the prinoipal office to London. A meeting would be called during the current half-year to consider tho removal of the principal office. The Chairman, in referring to the closing up of bad business, and the removal of the head office, said, inter alia: The assets have first to be dealt with. They were naturally certain large and weak commercial accounts which showed a tendency to drift, and which it was determined to wind up peremptorily, even at the sacrifice inevitably arising from sales of stockin - trade and the realisation of book debts at a specially unfavorable juncture. This had ocen almost completely accomplished. A large amount of bod business had been cleared from our books, and the result is a considerable deficiency in this part of tho liquidation. But wo have felt ourselves under no such pressure to realise our landed properties of various kinds which constitute the bulk of these globo assets, and from which much more satisfactory results may reasonably be anticipated. The returns from one set of properties alone have risen from LIB.COO to L 30.000 per annum. The best of our properties remain to be realised upon a market obviously improving. We have assots which from their nature are not at present productive, but which, when realised, and the money arising therefrom is employed in our business, will add largely to our profits. It must be obvious to every judicious shareholder holding sbarc3 enough to give him a genuine interest in the welfare of the bank that a public meeting is not the place to discuss figures and details of the bank's business, nor to answer merely curious questions. Your directors cannot conduct your business satisfactorily unless they possess your entire confidence. From that point of view, we felt that Auckland as the place for the head office of the bank was discredited by the Committee's report, and that our position has been weakened and our power to serve you impaired by circumstances to which I have already alluded. For these reasons, and not, I repeat, from any want of confidence in tbe future of the bank, or in our own capacity to manage its affairs, we think it due to you that we should recommend the shareholders to authorise the transfer of the control of the bank to the Board in London, against whom no damaging insinuations of want of capacity, want of honesty, or want of proper candor can be maintained, and who are more advantageously situated for securing the confidence of the bank's constituents in Great Britain than a colonial board can be.
The amend men the deed proposed at the previous meeting were unanimously confirmed.
Major George seconded the adoption of the report and balance-sheet. The Hon. G. Buckley took exception to the statement of the half-year's accounts. The capital of the bank should be reduced by losses of L 300.000 from the interim accounts. Proof of what he said could be iound in the bank's safes. The certificates or accounts made out previous to the Committee of Inquiry were quite unreliable, and showed tho loss to be much less than they should have shown. The Waikato properties were absurdly overvalued, and the estimates of loss on other accounts were absurdly wroDg. He characterised some of the accounts as disgraceful, mentioning a number which showed that 1.354,000 at least was to bo accounted capital lost. He proposed that consideration of the report and balancesheet be postponed to allow the directors to make further provision for bad and doubtful debts, the present provision being, in his opinion, inadequate. Mr Reader Wood seconded, saying that he considered the speeches of the chairman and Mr Buckley so varying that an adjournment was necessary. Major George reviewed Mr Buckley's action and that of the Shareholders' Committee. The bank had been discredited by the action of Mr Buckley and Mr M'Lean, two members of the Shareholders' Committee. Their conduct had been most dishonorable.— (Hear, hear.) This accounted for the bank's present position. He made very serious strictures on Mr Buckley's conduct, giving facts and dates. His charges against Mr Buckley were very strong, and were received with considerable applause. Mr J. M'Lean asked in what way he had injured the bank ? Major George : By selling your shares in tho way you did. Mr M'Lean said he had tried to serve the bank to the best of his ability, and should not have been insulted.
Some interruption Vioto took, place. When order was restored, Major George said that Mr Buckley's action was most inconsistent. He did not believo Mr Buckley's statements. Mr Buckley had used his knowledge to injure the bank after nscapinghimself,and perhaps to ruin poor people. He reviewed at some length Mr Buckley's statements and the action of the directors supporting the latter. There was no need for an adjournment. Mr Buckley said that he was prepared to meet any charges by Major George or anybody else. Ho, however, spoke amidst considerable interruption. Mr Murray (general manager) replied fully to Mr Buckley's strictures, and de* clared that thero had been no concealment. Mr Bucklev, as a member of the Shareholders' Committee, was fully informed on all matters pertaining to the bank's affairs. He knew nothing more of the bank's position now than when he signed the report of the Investigation Committee. He (Mr Murray) proceeded to show that with a revival of piosperity in New Zealand there was good reason to believe that the estimates made in the globo account would be realised, and that the properties in that account would become as valuable as ever tbey were. The meeting is still (5 p.m.) proceeding.
BANK OF NEW ZEALAND., Issue 8046, 24 October 1889
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