HC Deb 15 February 1922 vol 150 cc1050-1W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether offers have been made for the purchase of the Hoffman Manufacturing Company from the Government; and, if so, what was the price offered by the would-be purchaser and the terms stated by the Government re the position of the directors as a condition of sale?


Certain proposals have been made from time to time for the purchase of the Government holding in the Hoffmann Manufacturing Company, but none of these have been acceptable. It is obviously undesirable to disclose the terms of the various proposals made, but in all negotiations it has been made clear that, in the event of the Government's interests being sold, all the ordinary directors would, if desired by the purchaser, resign immediately.


further asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government have purchased the whole of the shares in the Hoffmann Manufacturing Company; if so, what is the full amount invested and the amount received in dividends during 1920–21; how many directors have been appointed; what are the terms of the appointments, i.e., period for which appointed; the amount of salary paid; and the names of such directors?


The Government purchased the whole of the issued capital of the company, namely, £89,556 7 per cent. Cumulative Preference Shares of £1 each, fully paid, and £155,889 Ordinary Shares of £1 each, fully paid, at a total cost of approximately £1,280,000. Very large extensions have since been made at Government cost. Since the company was acquired by the Government the dividends on the Preference shares have been duly paid and received by the Government. No dividends have been paid on the Ordinary Shares, the profits of the company having been used as working capital.

The Directors, five in number, are:

David H. Allan.
J. D. Steven.
J. Douglas Watson.
G. F. Barrett Managing Directors.
P. C. Low
The ordinary directors retire yearly by rotation, but would resign at any time at the request of the Government. They receive £800 a year (free of tax), as fees, with an additional £200 to the Chairman. The managing directors are appointed under a contract of service which can be determined in the course of the next year if not renewed.