Société des Plantations du Mayumbe "SOPLAMA" S.C.R.L.
The S.C.R.L. Société des Plantations du Mayumbe "Soplama" was created on April 26, 1927, with a share capital of 15 million francs, represented by 25,000 capital shares series A of 500 francs and 25,000 capital shares series B of 100 francs.
The head office was fixed in Boma, the administrative office in Brussels.
The 25,000 Series A Capital Shares and the 25,000 Series B Capital Shares were subscribed as follows:
Capital shares Series A. by:
Crédit Général du Congo, 9,419 shares ; Société Internationale de Plantations et de Finance "Sipef", 5,834 shares ; Banque Centrale Anversoise, 1,666 shares ; Société en nom collectif: "F. M. Philippson et Compagnie, 1,666 shares ; Société en nom collectif: J. Matthieu et Fils, 1,666 shares ; the general partnership "Osterrieth et Compagnie", both for itself and for a group, 1,666 shares; the Société de Gérance et de Placements Financiers, 1,250 shares; Mr. Daniel Schellekens, both for himself and for a group, 833 shares; Mr. Baron Henri Lambert, 500 shares; the Banque Hypothécaire et Immobilière d'Anvers, 500 shares
Capital shares Series B. by:
Crédit Général du Congo, 9,419 shares ; Société Internationale de Plantations et de Finance "Sipef", 5,834 shares ; Banque Centrale Anversoise, 1,666 shares ; société en nom collectif "J. M. Philippson et Compagnie", 1,666 shares ; société en nom collectif J. Matthieu et Fils, 1. 666 shares ; the general partnership: Osterrieth et Compagnie, both for itself and for a group, 1,666 shares ; the company of Gérance et de Placements Financiers, 1,250 shares ; Mr. Daniel Schellekens, both for himself and for a group, 833 shares ; Mr. Baron Henri Lambert, 500 shares ; the Banque Hypothécaire et Immobilière d'Anvers, 500 shares (30-(1927 p 461 to 477).
First board of Directors
For the first time, the number of directors was set at ten:
Messrs. General Eugène Henry, Pierre Clynans, Désiré De Schoonen, Arthur de San, Walther Blaess, Frédéric Maus, Maurice Philippson, Lucien Orban, Paul Osterrieth, Jean-William Speeth.
For the first time, the number of commissioners was fixed at three:
Messrs. Jean Guinotte, Séraphin Van Houcke, Robert Marsily (30-(1927 p 461 to 477).
All commercial, agricultural, industrial, real estate, financial and maritime operations within the widest limits, in Africa and especially in the Belgian Congo.
To be able to carry out the same operations in all countries as a preparation or as a consequence of operations carried out in Africa or when they have any other relationship with these.
To be able to take an interest by way of transfer, contribution, subscription, financial participation, loan or any other means, in all companies or enterprises whose object is directly or indirectly related to its corporate object or which are likely to promote or develop its corporate activity. It may even merge with them (30-(1927 p 461 to 477).
Change of capital, event(s), participation(s)
1927-28. - During this period, the Company set up its establishment in Mayumbe; it created a 40 km road network linking the various posts. Buildings were erected to house the various departments and to accommodate its agents. The adobe buildings were replaced by buildings made of durable materials. It began the felling and clearing of 500 hectares of forest and proceeded to plant 100 hectares of them in elaeis. This plantation work resulted in abnormal expenses which the Company showed in the balance sheet as a loss. It also considered it prudent to largely depreciate the provisional constructions, as well as the stocks and equipment. The commercial crisis in the Colony, and particularly in Mayumbe, did not allow the factories to operate normally. Likewise, the two factories established on the farms only processed small quantities of fruit, either from their concessions or from purchases from the natives. In view of the exceptional nature of this first financial year, no profit and loss account has been drawn up (21-(1929 T1)-987).
1929-30. - The Company planted 541 hectares of palm trees during this fiscal year, bringing the total plantation to 761 hectares. At the end of this fiscal year, preparatory work for new crops was underway, but in view of the persistent crisis and the precarious state of the financial situation, the Board considered it necessary to temporarily halt the extension of crops and to limit its activity to the maintenance of existing plantations.
The prices of oil and palm kernels, having fallen considerably on the European markets, did not allow for a profit on the production. The Council decided to temporarily stop the factories; they were transferred to places more favorable for the supply of fruit. The Council examined the possibility of restarting the factories. In view of the intense and persistent crisis that was affecting all agricultural operations in particular, the Council took all possible measures to save money by considerably reducing expenses both in Europe and in Africa (21-(1934 T1)-1045/46).
1930-31. - In order to proceed with restrictions without definitively compromising the future of the company, the Company sent a specialized planter to Africa to assess the plantations and to report on the possibilities offered by the properties and the industrial facilities. The conclusions of this report showed that the prospects of yield were too uncertain to justify the expense of continuing the plantation work, in the presence of the current price of oil, which had fallen by more than 50% since 1928. Under these conditions, the Company was led, at the end of the fiscal year, to stop all new expenses, while waiting for the situation to improve. This decision corresponded to the complete cessation of all activity. The precarious state of the Company's financial situation led certain shareholders, represented on the Board of Directors, to open a credit of 537,540 francs to the Company after the close of the fiscal year, intended to meet its commitments as well as the costs incurred by the dismissal of personnel and the closure of the posts. Notwithstanding the loss recorded, the meeting of February 16, 1932 decided not to dissolve the Company (21-(1934 T1)-1045/46).
1931-32. - During this financial year, the Company limited itself to the sale of various supplies and the regularization of debts and receivables. Some of the buildings and equipment were leased to third parties under conditions considered satisfactory. The situation led the Company to change the presentation of the balance sheet with regard to fixed assets. The profit and loss account was heavily burdened by depreciation procedures, resulting in a deficit of 13,128,708.18 francs. During the first half of the financial year 1932-33, all operations relating to the cessation of activity were closed; almost all of the Company's liabilities to third parties were liquidated (21-(1934 T1)-1045/46).
1932-33. - The unfavorable circumstances that led the Company to cease all activities in the previous year were accentuated during the year. The Company had to ensure as far as possible the preservation of its installations by renting them to third parties who were responsible for their maintenance. The rent received was credited to the profit and loss account. As some of the buildings were abandoned by defaulting tenants, the Company made substantial additional depreciations which brought the deficit balance of the profit and loss account to 13,607,309.59 francs. As the loss amounted to more than three quarters of the share capital, the extraordinary meeting of February 20, 1934 decided on the early dissolution of the Company (21-(1934 T1)-1045/46).
Dissolution and liquidation
On February 20, 1934, as mentioned above, the EGM decided the early dissolution and the liquidation of the SOPLAMA Company; the same Assembly decided to entrust the liquidation to the S.C.R.L. Crédit Agricole d'Afrique (33-(11/03/1934)-2150).