§ Colonel GREIG
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he would issue instructions to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies that the annual balance sheet required to be furnished to the Registrar under Section 26, Sub-section 3, of the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908, shall, in the case of public companies registered prior to the passing of the Act, be deemed sufficient and in compliance with the sub-section if it states the general nature of the assets and their value, without stating in detail the values for stock in trade, machinery and plant, and goodwill, respectively, as now required by the Registrar; and when the practice of requiring in detail such values to be stated was adopted?
As my hon. Friend is aware, the Statute provides that balance sheets of public companies shall be filed annually with the Registrar, giving such particulars as will disclose the general nature of the liabilities and assets and how the values of the fixed assets have been arrived at. The Board of Trade were advised in 1908 that under this provision fixed assets must be separated from floating assets, and that the tangible or separately realisable assets, such a ships' stores or investments outside the business, should be distinguished from intangible and evanescent assets, such as goodwill. I may remind my hon. Friend that under the Companies Act, 1900, the amount payable for goodwill was required to be specified separately in the prospectus, and by the Act of 1907 this requirement was extended to statements filed in lieu of prospectus. Some difficulty in placing any separate value on "goodwill" has been experienced by companies which were registered before there was any requirement with regard to the separation of goodwill, and I am now considering whether any relaxation of the requirements can properly be made as regards such companies.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
May I ask whether the Board of Trade see that these balance-sheets are lodged and filed, especially in Ireland?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
And whether the Board of Trade keep a record of the companies and check off the balance-sheets received or not?