§ 54. Major HUNT
asked what portion of the profits of the British Petroleum Company for the years 1914 and 1915, respectively, represents the profits earned by that company in the distribution of Shell 843 motor spirit; and whether the profits on the sale of this spirit for the year 1915 amount to nearly £150,000?
I do not think it is desirable to publish details of the source of the profits earned by the British Petroleum Company, Limited, particularly where the information also concerns the business of other companies or traders.
§ 55. Major HUNT
asked whether the directors of the British Petroleum Company are not, with the exception of Messrs. Kean and Colt, representative of the Russian, French, and Belgian under takings, who claim that the beneficial interest in almost half the shares in the British Petroleum Company and the Petroleum Steamship Company belong to them; and will he say what interests Messrs. Kean and Colt represent in these companies?
Mr. Kean claims that he represents Russian and French interests in the British Petroleum Company, Limited. Mr. Colt was elected a director at a board meeting held in June, 1915, at which Mr. Kean, Mr. Olsen, representing Russian interests, and Mr. Braun, representing French interests, were present, so that Mr. Colt appears also to represent Russian and French interests.
§ 56. Major HUNT
asked what profits have been earned by the British Petroleum Company and the Petroleum Steamship Company for the year 1914, in addition to the dividend of £69,203 8s. and £36,258 4s. paid to the Public Trustee; and whether he will give the amount of profits of these two companies for the year 1915, without "waiting until it is determined what part of the profits will be paid to the Public Trustee?
For the year 1914 the profits earned by the British Petroleum Company and the Petroleum Steamship Company, in addition to the dividends of £69,203 8s. and £36,258 4s. paid to the Public Trustee, were £11,951 and £3,139 respectively. The profits of the British Petroleum Company for the year 1915 were £305,952. I have not yet received particulars of the accounts of the Petroleum Steamship Company for the year 1915.
§ Major HUNT
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether all the profits are not paid to the German account although the Russian, French, and Belgians share almost half; and, if so, could he say why this is so?
§ 57. Major HUNT
asked whether an inquiry has been made by the Advisory Committee appointed by the Board of Trade as to the advisability of prohibiting or winding up the businesses of the British Petroleum Company, the Petroleum Steamship Company, and the Home light Oil Company; and, if so, when was the Report received from such Committee?
The Advisory Committee have inquired into the cases of the British Petroleum Company, Limited, the Petroleum Steamship Company, Limited, and the Home light Oil Company, Limited, and their Report advising that for special reasons it is inexpedient to prohibit or wind up the businesses of these companies was received on the 19th April.
On the ground of getting into existence an extensive organisation for the distribution of petroleum and petrol.
§ 58. Major HUNT
asked whether the Board of Trade intends to permit the British Petroleum Company, the Petroleum Steamship Company, and the Home light Oil Company to continue to make profits in Great Britain during the War for the benefit of the German shareholders?
It must not be assumed that German shareholders will derive any benefit from the profits earned by the companies referred to during the War. The profits which would have been paid to the German shareholders are handed to the Public Trustee, and the application of the money in his hands will be determined in accordance with the Trading With the Enemy Acts.