FRISTER & ROSSMANN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
On the afternoon of the 17 th May 1887, an ordinary general assembly of the shareholders of the Frister & Rossmann Company was held .
The managers think that the principal cause of the enormous losses sustained this year is owing to the sales on the hire system, which is still stedfastly held on to by all the sewing machine manufacturers throughout Germany. To work in accordance with this system grand and long-before-prepared means are necessary, and it follows therefrom that very prolonged credits have to be allowed to poor people. The heaviest loss' which the company had to suffer came from the rupture of commercial relations with the London firm, Hermann Loog, Limited. This firm has rightly enjoyed during a great number of years the highest reputation in the trade, until finally the head of the firm, driven by false ideas of greatness, has drifted into the way of falsehood. However, it must not be thought that the whole of the £ 33,000 are lost, inasmuch as the greater part of the goods in stock are mortgaged. Even the strictest control could not serve to discover the abominable abuse of confidence at an earlier period. The retail business will be done away with, and the same will be done with the branch offices. Mr. Keiling, of the limited company Keiling & Thomas, wished to say that the sewing machine branch is at the present moment in a very disheartening position. By means of costly installations, and the establishment of splendid machinery, they had truly succeeded in greatly increasing their force of production, but it must nevertheless be admitted that, though turning goods out in enormous quantities, competition is such that but very little profits could be made. Then it must be said that commencing to manufacture other articles is not such an easy matter as some people are fond to believe. Speaker knows the trade since fifteen years, and he assures the assembly that even the very best management could not arrive at showing brilliant results. There is, true enough, a sewing machine manufacturer at Dresden, who declared this year a dividend of 9 'per cent., but as the said society does only exist since last year, its ultimate progress should be seen to. Speaker thinks that this company equally shall shortly have to keep account with the present bad state of affairs. Another shareholder asked the managers why they had been so strongly guided by their pessimisme in making up their balance sheet. He thought that many of the outstanding debts, which are shown therein as being lost, would at some future time be recoverable, and finally he hoped that the managers would lose no time in looking for other remunerative articles to manufacture. He thought the company would do well in commencing to make bicycles, inasmuch as the German sport is actually wholly provided by the English market, and also because the article in question sells always for cash. Next he thinks that the company should at once take up the finishing of the new machine which they have now been occupied with since more than two vears, and that, besides the new machine, some other advantageous articles should be taken in hand. Mr. Sigismund Born replied that the Board 'of management does not think the manufacture of bicycles to be a fruitful source of profit, because, at the present moment, the sale of this article commences also to take some extension upon the hire system. He begs that the choice of some one or other new article to be manufactured be left to the initiative of the managers themselves, he being certain that these gentlemen will do their very best to recover the losses sustained last year.
No. 2 on the list, being the approval of the balance sheet, gave another shareholder occasion 'to ask whether the managers had not to follow certain rules as regards giving large credits ; whereupon the president replied that in order to allow credits over and above an amount of 5,000 mk. (£ 250) they needed the assent of the council of supervision. In reply to a question, Mr. Director Riese stated that the assets of the company had been taken at such a very low price into the balance sheet, that no other factory, when even working with smaller wages, and the most incomplete mechanical appliances, could arrive at selling machines at the prices fixed in the balance sheet. After Mr. Born had shown that the current year would certainly show far batter results, the balance sheet was finally unanimously adopted.
No. 3 on the roll passed off without discussion, because the Board of directors and the council declared to be willing to maintain their functions, after a vote of confidence had been passed by the assembly. After this re-election had taken place, the president proposed to add to No. 2 of the statutes the following amendment : "That the society be also authorised to invest its capital in other enterprises whose businesses are in accordance with that of this company".
It was further stated that, subject to the ultimate approval of the general assembly, in the meantime the society had already invested a sum of 40,000 mk. (£ 2,000) in an undertaking for the erection of automatic weighing machines. Besides the work which has thus been brought to the factory, the society has already derived a not inconsiderable amount of profit therefrom. Whenever an opportunity offers itself, the society intends to interest itself with other enterprises, and in this way the managers have already a number of projects put before them. The amendment in question was equally unanimously adopted by the members present.