HC Deb 19 May 1914 vol 62 cc1758-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation making it compulsory for any foreign public company which makes an issue of shares or debentures on the Stock Exchange in this country to file a balance-sheet at Somerset House, as in the case of an English company, in view of the fact that the directors of the American Marconi Company, large blocks of whose shares were recently dealt in on the London Stock Exchange, have recently proposed a resolution at their annual meeting empowering them to withhold the issue of a report and balance-sheet to the shareholders except at the annual meeting, and further empowering them to refrain from giving notice of the date of the annual meeting except by advertisement in three American papers?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Burns)

I have been asked by" my right hon. Friend to answer this question. By Section 274 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908, every company incorporated outside the United Kingdom which establishes a place of business within the United Kingdom is under the same obligation to file a balance-sheet as a company registered under the Companies (Consolidation) Act. A requirement of the kind suggested by the hon. Member would be very difficult to enforce, and as at present advised I do not propose to introduce legislation for the purpose.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that the shares of this company, after being unloaded to the public at a fictitious value, are now standing only at 16s., and can he not do something to protect the interests of English stockbrokers, especially in things like this, where the whole transaction was carried out in a most discreditable manner?


I have nothing to add to my answer.