Liquidation of Burntisland Oil Co.

type: Companies - dissolved company records

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Source date:
18/01/1892 (approximate)
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The Scottish Oil Trade Crisis.—The Burntisland Oil Company, Limited, have issued a notice calling up £-1 per share "'to provide for the payment of the debentures the Company about to fall due, and of others which have already matured; also for the opening up and proper development of a large additional shale field, extending to about 500 acres." The Economist, an article on the threatened crisis in the Scottish oil trade, remarks that "already one Company, the West Lothian has been obliged to consult its creditors, and several others aie in distress. It is simply impossible that some can carry on much louger. A couple of months may reveal the extent of The disaster. This is all very distressing—not only for the workpeople and others directly connected, but also for the great body of investors who have sunk, literally sunk, their money in the industry.

Dundee Courier - Monday 18 January 1892


Burntisland Oil Company Liquidation Proposal to Carry on the Works

In a communication which the liquidator (Mr More) of the Burntisland Oil Company has made to the committees of shareholders and creditors appointed to act along with him in the liquidation, it is stated that the closing of the works would result in such a serious loss that the debenture-holders would probably not realise more than 8s in the £1, and the unsecured creditors say 4s per 1£. Mr More thinks it would be a mistake to shut down now, especially in the past 18 months about £13,000 has been expended putting the mines in order, and that by the expenditure of another £1000 the shale can be produced in much greater quantities, and at a much reduced cost, Arrangements have been made with Kinghorn Town Council for a supply of water for the works' boilers, and the manager thinks that through this scheme there will a clear saving of not less than £1500 or £1600 a year. Mr More considers the works and mines under very efficient management, and that by the expenditure of the small sum already referred to, the company's works should be able to compete with the works of of the other Scottish oil companies. If the proposal to continue meets with the assent of the committee, Mr More will ask the sanction of the Court thereto. All obligations incurred will, of course, form a preferable charge on the whole assets, and it will, therefore, be necessary to obtain the consent of the Debenture-holders; but Mr More does not ask that this arrangement should hold beyond a year.

Edinburgh Evening News - Saturday 01 October 1892


BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY. WORKS TO CARRIED ON. A meeting of the committees of creditors and shareholders appointed to carry on the liquidation of the company, with Mr More, the liquidator, was held today in Edinburgh. The meeting approved of the recommendation of the liquidator to carry on the works, and it was agreed to make immediate application to the court for power that effect.

Edinburgh Evening News - Tuesday 04 October 1892


BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY LIQUIDATION. Debenture holders' meeting. A meeting of the debenture holders of the Burntisland Oil Company was held in Dowell's Rooms George Street, Edinburgh, this afternoon for the purpose of considering a letter by Mr Francis More, the liquidator of the Burntisland Oil Company, of 12th October, recommending that the works be carried on for some time, and also resolutions proposing that the works should carried not later than the 30th April 1893, and that the expenditure in connection with the carrying on of the business shall be a first charge on the assets of the Company. Mr Councillor Younger presided. The Secretary read letters from debenture holders in Glasgow protesting against the meeting. He also read a protest which had been handed in by Mr Michael Dawson, Shawlands, who disputed the legality of the resolution to be submitted to the meeting, and reserved to himself the right to take future action. At the outset a statement was made by Mr More, the liquidator in which he said was afraid they must regard the liquidation as a creditor's liquidation; because taking the most sanguine view the shareholders had nothing but a problematical interest. The parties interested in making the most of the assets were, therefore, the debenture holders. They had the first charge on the landed property, and as the rate was only £1300 or thereby they must in the meantime be held to have not only a practical interest in the landed property and the works, but also far the largest interest in the moveables. In short, but for the comparatively small liability of the trade creditors they would be practically out and out owners of the whole assets. They had, therefore, interest in seeing that the assets were not sacrificed in being hurriedly realised. The value was dependent on the whole being sold as going concern. If the works were sold now they would have to be broken up, and sold as old material, the shale would have little or no value, and the surface broken up by the works would have only small market value. He had recommended that the works carried on till April next, because he thought before that time the improvement on the mines and works which had been going on would be completed, and they should then be able to gauge pretty accurately whether in the future the shale, which all admit to be of first-rate quality, was likely to be got at a moderate cost, and in sufficient quantity. By new water which had introduced, he was advised that saving of from £1500 to £2000 would be effected. The carrying on of the works oven the worst would only mean slightly reduced dividend than if they were closed now—probably about 6d in the £. In his opinion circumstances did not justify them in bringing disaster on the community. It was surely well worth running the risk of loss, when the improvements on which they had spent a good deal of money were being completed. They were within 30 yards of the new shale field, and there was a chance of its proving a great blessing. Mr Dawson said they were simply benefiting Mr Gillies' property.—Mr More: It was not Mr Gillies property at all. Mr Gillies has been opened up and doing remarkably well.—Mr Dawson : If you had the shale for nothing it would not pay.—Mr More: If you shut down just now it will be simply ruinous.—Mr Gemmell, Glasgow, moved the resolutions in terms of the circular. He did think there was a little risk, but he thought it was small in proportion to the likelihood of their being in a very much better condition either to continue the works or to get some reconstruction of this company. —Mr Dawson—l move that this resolution be not passed.--Mr Waddell, Edinburgh, seconded Sir Gemmell’s motion. —In answer to Mr Walker, Mr More said that he intended to carry on the works under the present management, and said in answer to another gentleman that he wanted to prove that the shale there was first rate quality, and could be got at a cheap rate and in sufficient quantity.—Mr Waddell made a statement, in which expressed the belief that there was every chance of the concern being made profitable, and said that was astonished at the opposition of Mr Dawson after what he had got off the company. there must, he said, surely be something behind it.—Mr Dawson said he was not ashamed of what he had received. The Rev. John Wemyss thought they should not go into personal questions. He was quite willing that the works should go on if for nothing else than it would benefit the work people there. A shareholder said there had been a proposal to introduce oil into gas-works and it that was done there would be a good demand for it. No one seconded.— Mr Dawson and the chairman declared the motion carried. Mr Dawson entered his dissent,— It was intimated that out of £100,000 debentures, which had been issued, these were represented at the meeting either personally or by proxies, holders amounting to £82,390. There were only £1600 holders opposed, of which Mr Dawson held £1000. —The proceedings then terminated.

MEETING OF CREDITORS. meeting of the ordinary creditors of the company was held in Dowell's Rooms after the meeting of the debenture holders. Mr James Tullo presided, and the attendance was small.— Mr Moore, the liquidator, stated that the position of affairs was a very simple one. During the last months, the company had spent a very considerable sum of money in putting the mines and the works in such order as was likely to ensure getting shale at a cheap rate. What he had recommended was to allow him to complete the works that were just at the point of completion, and carry on the works till April, and then he thought he would be in position to tell them whether it was likely that shale could be got at such a rate as would enable the works to pay. It was only risking 6d or 1s on the chance of getting back their money.—Mr Murray, Glasgow, moved the adoption of the resolutions adopted at the meeting debenture holders.—Mr M'Ainsh, Crieff, seconded.— Mr M'Donald of Poynter, Son, & M'Donald, dry salters Glasgow, moved a direct negative. He did not think there was any prospect just now of the Burntisland Oil Company continuing to make a profit, and he for one distinctly objected to his money being spent in this way. No one seconded the amendment, and the resolutions were adopted. —The liquidator stated that the claim of Mr M'Donald amounted to £24.—Mr M'Donald; £27. —The proceedings then terminated.

Edinburgh Evening News - Thursday 27 October 1892


THE BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY. Yesterday two sets of answers were submitted to the Judges of the First Division to the note Francis More, C.A., Edinburgh, in the liquidation of the Burntisland Oil Company, for sanction to the carrying on of the business. Mr Michael Dawson, 4 Millar Street, Shaw lands, Glasgow, states that he was the holder of five debenture bonds of the Company for £200 each. From his knowledge of the business, he entertains a very strong conviction that with the present low price of products, and the absence of any appearance of amendment, it will be impossible tor the liquidator to carry on the business even for six months without serious loss. Further, the result of working the retorts during the winter months will cause an amount of wear and tear which will entail an expenditure next summer of from £5000 to £6000 to put them in order for the next winter's work. Besides every ton of shale raised from the Company's own property necessarily depreciates the value of the heritable security. Within the last eighteen months the Directors have called up £30,000 from the shareholders, and they have incurred a debt of £13,000 to unsecured creditors in addition to their obligations to secured creditors. He believes the liquidator is losing £50 per day on the concern just now besides depreciation. His desire is that the property held by the debenture trustees should be conserved and realised for the benefit of those for whom the trustee holds it viz., the debenture holder. He maintains that the prayer of the note should refused in far as it craves the sanction of Court to the debts and obligations to be incurred by the liquidator in connection with the carrying on of the business being made a first charge on the property held by the debenture trustees. The other objectors are Messrs Middleton & Kirkpatrick, merchants, 179 Weet Street, Glasgow, who state that they are creditors to the extent of £753 7s Id. They state that the assets of the Burntisland Oil Company are totally inadequate to meet its liabilities, and it is the opinion of those capable of forming a judgment that to continue its operations for six months, or, indeed for any period whatever, would necessarily involve the Company in great loss, besides sinking the proposed capital expenditure of £2650 for which no return would ever got. The proposal to carry on business is not for the preservation of the business, but simply a speculation. The proposal is made in the interest of the shareholders and certain preferable creditors to assist them in realising their securities, and not in the interest of the general body of creditors whom the cost of carrying on the business would fall. They ask that the note should be refused, except in so far as it craves confirmation of the appointment of a Committee off the creditors to advise with the liquidator. The petition and answers were sent to the summary roll for discussion.

Dundee Advertiser - Thursday 10 November 1892


BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY. Yesterday, in the Court of Session, answers were lodged In the petition by the liquidator of the Burntisland Oil Company for sanction to expose the works to sale as a going concern in January next. Michael Dawson, 4 Millar Street, Shawlands, Glasgow, says it is not expedient nor beneficial that the business be carried on till 16th January as proposed. Moreover, to carry. on that business would be a breach of the judgment of the First Division. He believes that any prospect of selling the works in the present depressed state of trade would be hopeless, and it would be cheaper to stop them than to carry them on. He contends that the business is losing £5O a day, besides depreciation. Messr Middleton & Kilpatrick, merchants, 179 West George Glasgow, also lodge answers, In which they state that the present is an attempt on the part of the petitioner to do in a modified form what the Court bad already declared Illegal.

Kirkcaldy Times - Wednesday 07 December 1892


THE BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY LIQUIDATION. In the First Division of the Court of Session this afternoon. Lord Stormonth Darling reported the petition by the liquidator of the Burntisland Oil Company asking leave to carry on the works till near the end January in order that they might be sold as a suing concern. Mr Graham Murray, for the liquidator, moved their lordships to grant the petition. Mr Ure, for one of the opposing debenture-holders, said their lordships might take it that the works could not be sold as a going concern. Other oil companies which were equipped with modern plant were stopping work because of the depression in trade; this company's plant was antiquated, and nobody would buy it. The liquidator would therefore be forced in the end to dispose of the concern as worthless. To stop would mean expenditure of from £15 to £20 a week for care-taking; whereas to go on would involve an expenditure from £700 to £800 a week. It was said that his client, Dawson, stood alone, but if he were right, that should not preclude the court from giving effect to his view. He did not suggest that the petition should be disposed of without inquiry, and he proposed remit to a man of skill for that purpose. Mr Watt read from the Herald of today in support of his statement, that perhaps the final blow to the oil trade of Scotland had come in the great fall in the price of scale. The Lord President said the Court would see the liquidator, and they would express their opinions the Lord Ordinary, who was in charge of the liquidation.

Edinburgh Evening News - Friday 09 December 1892


BURNTISLAND MINERS GET THEIR NOTICE. The miners the employment of the Burntisland Oil Company received information yesterday to lift their tools on Wednesday, as their services would not be required the after that date. A number of rumours are (says Burntisland correspondent) afloat as to the future the works, and anxiety prevails in the town and district as to what the issue may be. The hope, however, entertained that the works may acquired by new company, and that the stoppage of the works may not be long continued.

Edinburgh Evening News - Tuesday 17 January 1893


Burntisland Oil Works.—The extensive oil and candle works of Burntisland and Kinghorn, Fifeshire, belonging the Burntisland Oil Company, Limited, with shale property, fee., were exposed to public auction yesterday in Do well's Rooms, Edinburgh, at the upset price of £25,000. There were, however, offers, though there was a pretty large company present, and the sale was adjourned.

Dundee Courier - Thursday 19 January 1893


Meetings of the creditors and shareholders of the Burntisland Oil Company were held in Edinburgh yesterday, the scheme of arrangement was approved of and adopted. By the scheme of arrangement the existing creditors debenture holders are to receive Preference shares in the new Company, the debenture holders to the extent of 20s per Z. and the ordinary creditors lOs per £ of their claims.

Scottish Leader - Tuesday 31 January 1893


BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY Proposed Reconstruction. COURT OF SESSION, Friday,—Application was made to Lord Darling asking sanction to scheme of reconstruction of the Burntisland Oil Company. It was stated that meeting shareholders and debenture holders had unanimously approved the scheme. The landlord had agreed when was arranged that he should receive his rent to Martinmas, 1893. Every creditor had agreed to accept Preference shares in place of their debt, with the exception one, who at a meeting of creditors had allowed the motion approving the scheme to pass without dissent. At the close of the meeting had Intimated to the chairman that was not to be held as consenting to the scheme. was debenture-holder to the extent of £1000, but as the works were valued at about £20,000, his real interest was only about £200. Lord Stormonth Darling said he would give his decision to-morrow.

Glasgow Evening Post - Friday 03 February 1893


THE BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY. A note was presented to Lord Stormonth Darling in the Court of Session to-day, by two debenture-holders asking sanction to a scheme of reconstruction of the Burntisland Oil Company. Mr Salvesen, for the petitioners, submitted reports of meetings of debenture holders and shareholders, which unanimously approved of tho scheme, with the exception of Mr M'lndoe, for Mr Ayton of Grange, the landlord of the minerals. It had now, however, been arranged that the landlord should have his rent paid until Martinmas 1893, when there was a break in the lease. Lord Stormonth Darling: I am to take the case on the footing that every shareholder and every creditor secured and unsecured now consents to accept preference shares in place of their debt? Mr Salveson said that was with one exception. Mr Ure was now representing Mr Dawson, a debenture holder, who was present at the meeting, and allowed the motion to be passed without opposition. When the meeting was dissolved, however, Mr Dawson intimated to the chairman that he was not to be held as consenting to the scheme, and reserved opposition. The chairman informed Mr Dawson that he could not minute the opposition, because the meeting was dissolved. Mr Dawson was a debenture-holder, only representing himself to the extent of £1000, no doubt a considerable sum, but an absolutely diminishing quantity as compared with the other debenture holders, all of whom were desirous that the scheme should be carried into effect. The total debentures which formed a first charge amounted £83,540, and in addition there were persons who held mortgage debentures to the extent of £12,500, so that there were holders of debentures to the amount of £94,000 who were willing to have this scheme passed. Having explained that the works had been exposed for £25,000 and found no offerer. Mr Salvesen pointed out that they could not valued at more than £20,000, so that Mr Dawson s interest only amounted to about £200. The object of the Companies' Act was that recalcitrant and unreasonable persons like Dawson should bound down by what the great majority of creditors, secured and unsecured, desired. The secured creditors were to get £1 in shares for every £2 of debt, whereas the mortgage debenture holders were to got preference shares of the new company the full extent of the debentures they held. He contended that Mr Dawson had all along been endeavouring to extort better terms for himself than others in the same position. Mr Salvesen asked that the schemes should be approved of at once, as a weekly expenditure £100 was present being incurred keeping the mines free of water. Mr Ure, on behalf of Mr Dawson, said he had been all along very anxious to expedite the business of the company. In the present condition of the oil trade it was hopeless to continue the business, and it was not fair compel his client to take shares in a new company which had power to borrow on debentures. the holders of which would have a first claim on the assets. He contended that in order to continue the business, it would be necessary to borrow £70,000. Mr Salvesen replied that if the creditors took shares for their debts, a large quantity of candles and other stocks would be set free to allow the company to go on with for some time. Ninety-nine of the hundred creditors took a favourable view of the Scottish oil trade, and Mr Dawson was the one who was pursuing a dog-in-the-manger policy. Lord Stormonth Darling; said ho would give judgment tomorrow morning.

Edinburgh Evening News - Friday 03 February 1893


THE BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY RECONSTRUCTION. Lord Stormonth Darling in the Court of Session to-day disposed of the application by two debenture holders of the Burntisland Oil Company, asking the Court to sanction a scheme for the reconstruction of the company, which was before him yesterday. The application was opposed on behalf of Mr Dawson, one of the debenture holders. His lordship said that he had no hesitation in saying that the class of creditors who were summoned to the meeting was fairly represented by those who attended; and he had no doubt that the majority were acting in bona-fida, and from a sincere conviction that the scheme which they approved of was best in the interests of all concerned. Whatever might be the future of the oil trade, he could not, looking to the large interests and the well-known business capacity of many creditors whose names were before him, hold that they did not know what they were about. They represented something like £96,000 and the dissentient shareholders £1000, and therefore there was an overwhelming majority in fa»our of the scheme. He therefore granted his sanction to the scheme, and allowed Mr Ayton, the landlord of part of the company's subjects, five guineas of modified expenses.

Edinburgh Evening News - Saturday 04 February 1893


HARD TIMES AT BURNTISLAND. wviki/ A number of the former employees of the Burntisland Oil Company are idle, the frequent rumours which are floated as to tho early re-opening of the works tending keep them at home. As yet, however, only many mem are at work as suffice to keep tho mines and plant in order. Tho trade of the town and district exceedingly depressed, and low has the shipping trade fallen that even the railway servants are experiencing short time. This specially the. case with engine-drivers and guards, and a number of the latter are only being employed for ten days in the fortnight.

Edinburgh Evening News - Monday 13 February 1893


BURNTISLAND. A Blow to Burntisland.—lt is reported in the district that the works of the Burntisland Oil Company are about to come to a complete stoppage. The expectation till lately was that the works would be resumed, and the opposite prospect is casting gloom on Burntisland and Kinghorn, where already the trade is greatly depressed. Since the Company went into liquidation eighteen months ago, fifty or sixty hands have been employed keeping the mines clear and the machinery in order. The miners have now got intimation that their services will not longer required, and the inference is that the works will be immediately closed. Some discouragement has recently been expressed by the flooding of one or two of the mines, and the trouble and expense of resisting the invasion of water have apparently exhausted both the patience and the means of those keeping the works going. The efforts to reconstruct and raise fresh capital have not been attended with adequate results, and this more than anything else has probably brought about the summary withdrawal of the workmen. At one time about 800 men were employed, and the fortnightly wages bill was not much under £1500. Since this was in type it is announced that arrangements have been made for carrying on the works.

St. Andrews Citizen - Saturday 19 May 1894


BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY IN LIQUIDATION. The fourth annual report by W.J. Johnstone, S.C Edinburgh, liquidator of the Company, is as follows: The liquidator begs to annex an abstract of his accounts for the year July 1900. The issue of this report has been delayed pending the issue of certain prolonged negotiations which the liquidator has had with various parties with the view to turning the Company’s property to account for the purposes of an Oil work. These negotiations are, however in the meantime in abeyance, and not justify further delay in submitting the accounts to the holders. As the shareholders are aware the assets consist of the estate Whinnyhall, with upwards of 100 workmen's houses thereon the shale in the estate, the private railway nearly 2 miles in length, the candle works at Kinghorn and the sums in bank, and the liquidator extremely anxious to dispose of them in such a way that the shale, the workmen's houses, the candle works, and the railway would be of considerable value. This can only done if the property is sold at connection with an oil Work. The grass parks in Whinnyhall were let as usual, and as many as possible of the workmen's houses are also let. The liquidator has. with the approval of the Advisory Committee in the liquidation taken credit in his accounts for £50 as his fee for the previous year. The houses, &c, have been insured as usual.

Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 26 June 1901


BURNTISLAND OIL COMPANY LIQUIDATION. W. J. Johnstone, S.S.C., Edinburgh, his seventh annual report as liquidator of the company, states that the estate Whinnyhall and its minerals has been conserved, and he proposes that if the estate is to be longer held it should be done by means of small company, which could administer it much more advantageously. Under such an arrangement the capital would be reduced so to reasonably represent the company's assets, and the Ordinary shares, which there are no assets whatever to represent would be eliminated. He has accordingly consulted several of the largest Preference shareholders, and with their approval, as well with the approval the Committee in the liquidation, he has prepared a scheme of arrangement designed to give effect to this suggestion. By this holders of less than 120 Preference shares would be bought cut at ls 6d per share, and 107 shareholders, who hold the remaining 106,654 Preference shares would have their holding reduced to one share for every 12 they at present hold- The capital of the new company would £8844. The total shares to paid out cash under the proposed arrangement would be 5624, and sum of £412 16s would be required for that purpose. This and the expenses of the whole arrangement would be paid out of the cash now available. The Ordinary shareholders of the present company, having no further interest, will not participate the new company.

Edinburgh Evening News - Thursday 24 September 1903