| By a special resolution on Thursday afternoon, Messrs. John White Ltd. Higham Ferrers and Rushden, changed their name to John White Footwear, Ltd. Their subsidiary company, Nene Valley Shoes Ltd. also changed to the new style.
Controls that hamper the production of better class footwear came in for criticism by Mr. John White in his speech at the Company’s annual meeting.
Stressing the “very great” difficulty in obtaining suitable leather, Mr. White said: “In common with other manufacturers we feel that were our supplies unhampered by so much control, and with more free and unrestricted market we would be much better able to purchase the higher grade materials which would enable us to produce the better-class goods in demand by our customers and the public.”
Mr. White was confident that the home market could easily absorb any additional output the company could achieve. He looked forward to a new export record despite the closing of their doors by some countries hitherto good customers of Britain. The European demand was not nearly as great as it was a year ago, but new markets had opened up, and in the case of Sweden he hoped that trade would be re-opened during the summer.
The speech disclosed that for every £1 of turnover on the manufacturing side of the business labour absorbs 3s 5d, materials 11s 10d, manufacturing expenses 3s 1½d, taxes 11d, dividend and reserve 8½d.
Current assets have risen to £680,000 and exceed current liabilities by nearly £530,000. The reserves exceed the paid-up capital by £41,000.
Mr. White claimed that because of factory planning and specialisation his employees were able to produce more pairs per head than those of any other concern in the country making the same class of goods.
He paid special tributes to Mr. B. H. Toms, the director in charge of production, and the company’s advertising department.
A record net profit of £137,655, which will be taxed to the extent of £65,500, was announced, and a final ordinary dividend of 37½ per cent (less tax) was declared.
When Mr. B. H. Toms was re-elected as a director, Mr. White said: “We could find no one more worthy to remain a member of the Board.”
Moving thanks to the chairman on behalf of directors and shareholders, Mr. B. M. Lindsay Finn declared: “Any business is as good as its top management and is not usually any better.” Mr. Finn said he had been struck by the remarkable value of the merchandise the Company was offering the public. This was not an accident or the result of Government control on profit. It was due to good organisation.
The Company’s earnings, said Mr. Finn, were now ten times what they were when the Company became public.