JOHN : Now, gentlemen, the next thing on the agenda is Finance. I think we’ve all seen the annual statement. You’ll find a copy in front of you, I believe.
JONES : May I point out, Mr. Chairman, they haven’t been audited yet?
BAIRD : Well, with respect, there hasn’t been time.
JONES : No, No, of course not, I appreciate that. I was just making sure we all realized it.
O’BRIAN : I would have thought that an unaudited state- 10 ment could still form a basis of discussion, Mr. Chairman.
JOHN : Oh, yes, I think so. Although I think it is certainly in order to point out that they are in fact unaudited,
BAIRD : Yes. However, I assure you, Mr. Chairman, that our accounts department can be relied upon to avoid errors in the annual statement.
ALL : Quite of course.
JOHN : Well, gentlemen, I think we can proceed then. 20 Any points you want to raise on the statement?
JONES : Yes, Mr. Chairman. This is really a question of general policy. Now, this has been a very good year. Profits are good
BAIRD : They’re not as good as last year. I’d like to make one or two observations on that
JOHN : Yes. Mr. Baird. Although with respect I feel we should first consider what Mr. Jones was in the middle of saying.
BAIRD : I meant when Mr. Jones had finished, Mr. Chairman.
JOHN :Mr. Jones…
O’BRIEN : I would support Mr. Jones there, Mr. Chair- man. I feel the market is so vast and the 35 possibilities for expansion so great that we should take advantage of it.
BAIRD : The only problem here is that we’ll find it difficult to raise new capital if we lower our dividend. A reduced dividend might well discourage new investment.
JONES : I wasn’t suggesting a substantial reduction.
BAIRD: But It’s doubtful whether devoting a larger proportion of profits to reinvestment would lead to a greater increase in our annual investment figures.
JONES : With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, I would point out-
JOHN : Now gentlemen.
MAID : Excuse me, sir. Can I bring in the tea?
JOHN : Ah, yes. Perhaps this is a good moment for a break, gentlemen.