discussed. Awaiting the outcome of the final bill, the seat of Sarphati would not be filled. Obviously a move of the registered office to Paris was already in consideration. A further sign for a change was the statement that the bank had taken the decision to liquidate certain Dutch assets. Contrary to expectations these investments had not met the success some members of the board had anticipated. Another indication was the gesture towards the French shareholders. At the extraordinary shareholder s meeting of 1864, a capital reduction was approved, and the par value per share was reduced to FFR 500 or NLG 235. The now fully paid shares represented a capital of NLG 9,400,000.
In 1866, the results of the NCDB were negatively affected by the international financial crisis which came as the result of the failure of the banking firm, Overend Guerney & Co. in London39. NCDB s income from new issues fell substantially, and a loss had to be taken on the holdings in Italian railways. Nevertheless, conditions improved in the following years, and the dividend was gradually raised from 6.5 percent in 1865 to reach 11 percent in 1869.
Nevertheless, the bank was still unable to use its capital to its full extent. As a result, in 1867 the decision was taken to set into motion a buyback program of 8,000 shares. The shares were acquired at a price corresponding to 90 percent of par value. A few years later in early 1870 the shares were sold at 124 percent. The timing was particularly successful, as in July 1870 a new setback occurred with the outbreak of the Franco-German war. Fortunately, the panic was short lived, and in 1870 a dividend of 8.4 percent could be declared after reserving the profit made on the buyback operation.
Meanwhile, interesting new developments continued to take place in the organization. Initially, it seemed that again more emphasis would be put on the activities in the Netherlands as prospects in the market seemed to improve. As a consequence, in April 1869, the two vacancies on the board of directors that had existed since 1866 were filled by two Dutch bankers, Gideon M. Boissevain of Holjé & Boissevain and A.J. von Hemert of Alstorphius & Von Hemert. Both firms were active in the introduction of American railway securities on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Alstorphius & Von Hemert ran an administration office, jointly with Mallet Frères of Paris, which had been involved with the Algemeene Maatschappij. They issued depository receipts against the original shares of foreign companies. In the annual report of 1869 nothing was said about moving the bank s headquarters to France, whilst this had been used as the explanation for not filling the vacancies on the board of directors. Later in the year, Benedict Jacobsen took his retirement as general manager in Amsterdam. His place was taken over by Von Hemert, who gave up his seat on the board of directors. He decided to liquidate his own firm. Its activities were taken over by the NCDB.
39. On the London market a speculative bubble had developed over the years as a result of the many share issues of new banks and other companies. This came to a sudden end when a series of spectacular bankruptcies occurred. The demise of the banking firm Overend, Guerney & Co. in May 1866 caused a real panic, which for a long time affected the public.
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