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CHESTER GAS COIPANY. «--

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CHESTER GAS COIPANY. « HALF-YEARLY MEETING. The seve.ity-firsr. ordinary genera! meeting of the Chester United Gas Company was held on Monday at the company's Cuppin-street. Mr. James G. Frost presided in the absence CI i the chairman (Mr. John Gamon). a,i the attend- j ance included Mr. R. L. Barker, Mr. James. Hob- day. Mr. Geo. Okell (directors). Mr. W. Ha>weri. j Mr. G. R. Griffith, Mr. J. S. Latham. Mr. Isaac Williams, and Mr. W. \Y. Tasksr. with Mr. James Pye (secretary), Mr. F. A. Pye (general manager. and Mr. J. C. Belton (engineer). The directors, in their report for the half-year endied 31st December, stated that the carboniz- ing pi ant continued to yield satisfactory remits, and the directors had been enabled to write off a. further sum of 1;1,550 on account of the amc-.uin chargeable against reyenue for the alterations to the retort- house, making, with the £ 1.750 written off on 30th June last, a total sum of z/O,300 paid on. that account during- the past year. The_ balance to credit of profit and loss account IC) after pro- viding for payment of all interest on loan capital and dividend on preference stock to 31st December last, is £ 4,919 Is.. and the- directors recommended' payment of full statutory dividend on the ordinary stock to 31st December, 1903, cut of this sum, payable on 10th proximo. The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report and the statement of accounts, said the accounts both for the half-year and the whole year shewed little variation in comparison with previous years. A small reduction in the price of coal audi' a, good market for residuals enabled the directors to write off a large amount on account of tne retort house debt. It was hoped to write off the outstanding balance, £3,300 odd, off the accounts during the current year. The works had been maintained in a satisfactory condition. The directors had pleasure in observing the increased use of incandescent gas burners, and had intro- duced a scheme of complete maintenance av a small quarterly charge which had been largely patronised by consumers with most. gratifying re- sults. During the present- winter the directors had also introduced a system of supplying a'- d fixing gas fires at an inclusive quarterly rental on the three years' hire purchase. Mr. R. L. Barker, in seconding the resolution, s¡.d it was very satisfactory that they had been enabled to write off such a large portion of the big debt on the retort house in one year, and yet be able to pay their statutory dividend. Mr. Tasker, criticising the accounts in some de- tail, expressed the opinion that- the amount cf the reserve fund invested in consols was fictitious for the reason that the price of consols had gone down since the funds were invested. In all sound commercial enterprises consols wer-ei being written down to a price below the market price. When he drew the chairman's attention to this matter last year he was assured that consols would probably rise, but on the contrary they had since fallen. He therefore suggested:1 it would be good poLcy on the part of the directors to piece the policy on the part of the directors to piece the rcseru :und at something like its actual value, aù the price of the day. or to strike an average price, beeaus-e it was delusive for them t-o think they had £ 12,328 in the reserve fund. The Chairman replied that the figure as set down m the accounts was not delusive or mis- leading. In reply to Mr. G. R. Griffith, the Chairman said the company had never sold consols except on one occasion many years ago for the equalisa- tion of dividends during the coal strike. On the motion of the Chairman, seconded by Mr. James Hobday, dividends were declared as follows :—" A dividend of £4 per cent, per annum on £ 52.500 preference stock in respect of the year ended 31st December. 1903. the same having been already paid. Also dividend in respect of the half-year ended 31st December. 1903. at the rate of 2 per cent on £ 157.150 stock of the company, making with the interim dividend declared at the ordinary general meeting held August 6th last, a.t the rate of 2 per cent., a total dividend fcr the year 1903 at the full maximum rate of 5 per cent., and that the same be paid at the company's bankers, on or after,the 10th instant, to the pro- prietors whose names now stand! registered in the bocks of the company or to their legal repre- sentatives. I Ol-, the motion of Mr. W. Harwell, seconded bv Mr. J. S. Latham, Messrs. George. Okell and James Hobday were re-elected directors. Mr. F. J. Warmsley was also re-appointed auditor of the company, and the meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the Chairman and the omdr.Is of the company, in proposing which Mr. Gr.ffith remarked that he did! not know of any other gas company in the country that was man- aged so efEcietly and economically ee- that- cf Cb(<er.

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LIGHTING-UP TABLE. .

CHESTER

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UNIONIST MEETING., I