USSCO sale questioned

The residence of Mrs Robert Cullen and her daughter, at Allanton, on the Taieri Plain. Two sons...
The residence of Mrs Robert Cullen and her daughter, at Allanton, on the Taieri Plain. Two sons are serving their country in France. — Otago Witness, 20.6.1917.
It is apparent that an acute difference of opinion exists among local holders of shares in the Union Steam Ship Company respecting the proposal for the sale of their interest in the company to the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

The immediate, tangible benefit that is to be secured from the disposal of shares of the face value of 20s each in the Union Company for 30s a share in cash, together with 10s worth of P. and O. deferred stock, is apparent enough. Even for the buyer of Union Company’s shares at the market price immediately prior to the announcement of the fusion project — for buyers, that is to say, at about 50s per share — there is an immediate benefit arising from the fact that the 10s P. and O. deferred stock is worth, at the present time, 30s to 32s, which, however, we take to be a war price.

But, looking beyond the question of immediate benefit, a number of shareholders in the Union Company — we imagine, a considerable number — are impressed with the belief that they are asked to surrender their interests in the company for a consideration that is inadequate. The Union Company’s property has become extremely valuable and, even although the assessment of its tonnage at figures that are the direct outcome of the war demand for freight and of the war losses in shipping may be distinctly speculative, it is argued by the dissentient shareholders that the interest of the ordinary shareholders in the property is worth considerably more to them than the sum of £3,000,000 or so, the P. and O. deferred stock being reckoned as worth 30s, which is being offered for it.

The Union Company is an institution in which the whole of the people of this country have, in some vague way, felt that they had a personal interest. Originated in a small way in Dunedin, it has grown as New Zealand itself has grown. Its progress has been maintained ‘‘pari passu’’ with the development of the dominion itself. Its future is, therefore, a matter of concern to the whole of New Zealand — a matter of particular concern, of course, to Otago and Dunedin, where the company was conceived, where it was born, and whence it has expanded until its fleet has become the seventh, in point of number of vessels, in the British Empire.

Every resident of the dominion who has witnessed with satisfaction and pride the growth of the Union Company, and has looked upon the company as an outstanding illustration of successful management of a great concern by New Zealand people — by people possessed of foresight, initiative, and enterprise — will, on sentimental and patriotic grounds, contemplate very regretfully the completion of an arrangement that will transfer the ownership of the ordinary shares in the company to a vast shipping corporation with its headquarters in London.

Petition burnt

There is likely to be some trouble over one of the petitions concerning 6 o’clock closing in Timaru (says the Herald). A lady took the petition to a certain establishment with the idea of getting it signed. To her surprise, however, the petition was taken from her and not returned. On asking for its return the lady was told that she had seen the last of the petition, as it had been burnt.

Demands on Plunket nurses

The growing demand made by the public upon the services of the Plunket nurses was mentioned (says the New Zealand Herald) by Bishop Averill in the course of an address on Wednesday.

"The increase of work is gratifying," he said, "but I am afraid we are in great danger of over-working these nurses. They have to pay a tremendous number of visits in the course of the year, and work from early morning till late at night, often without either rest or refreshment. There are no strikes, nor go-slow policies among  them, however, nor even a nurses’ union. The whole community is indebted to them for their work, but I think it should be more centralised, and, instead of these women having to walk about from home to home to see the babies, the mothers should lighten those duties by bringing the babies to the nurses."

Enterprising women journalists

Two ladies, Miss Abernethy and Miss Grant, occupy a unique position in New Zealand journalism, as by their joint efforts the Woodville Examiner is produced. The latter’s father used to own and edit the paper, and on his death his daughter stepped into the breach, and later on Miss Abernethy joined her as "first lieutenant". Between them, they attend to both the literary and business side of the paper. — ODT, 12.6.1917.



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