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FORD SEEKS TO BUY BIG COAL PROPERTY

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Ford Motor Company

FORD SEEKS TO BUY BIG COAL PROPERTY

The New York Times
December 23, 1922


Negotiating for the Pond Creek Company's Holdings, Valued at $7,450,000.

LOCATED IN KENTUCKY

Rich Vein Covering 26,000 Acres—Auto Manufacturer After an Assured Fuel Supply.

Representatives of Henry Ford are negotiating for the property of the Pond Creek Coal Company, according to an official announcement made yesterday by T. B. Davis, President of the coal company.  Rumors that Mr. Ford was seeking to gain control of the company have been circulated in the financial district for a week or more, and in order to correctly inform the stockholders of the company as to what is transpiring, Mr. Davis concluded that they should be officially advised.

"Negotiations have been on but a very short time," says the statement, "and final decision will be arrived at before the close of the year."

Just what amount is involved in the transaction was not made known by officers of the Pond Creek Coal Company, but it was said that the deal involves the sale to Ford interests of all of the company's coal lands, mining plants and equipment in Pike County, Ky.  As virtually all of the company's property is located in that district, Mr. Ford will take over the entire company if the deal goes through.

It has been known for some time in the financial district that Ford has been endeavoring to obtain control of certain coal properties to insure an adequate supply to keep his many plants in active operation.  It was recalled that during August, when the strike of coal miners was at its height, Mr. Ford announced that all of his plants would shut down because of the scarcity of coal at the time.  A few days later Mr. Ford announced that he would not buy coal at any prices, even if he could get it, in order to keep his plants in operation.  The plants never closed, however, despite the public statements made by Mr. Ford, in view of the fact that arrangements were made for the necessary coal supply.  It is understood that the situation created as a result of last Summer's coal strike set in motion plans to take over coal properties for the purpose of producing the entire needs of the Ford properties.

It is not known whether Mr. Ford is seeking a controlling interest in the Pond Creek Company or whether his offer will cover all of the stock in the hands of the public.  The Pond Creek Company has $2,219,200 capital stock outstanding of $10 a share par value, but inasmuch as the stock is selling around $35 a share in the open market, the capital stock is valued at approximately $7,450,000. Although dividend payments on this stock have varied during the past seven years they have never been below 10 per cent. and have been as high as 20 per cent. in a single year.

The principal asset of the company consists of 31,000 acres of coal mining lands, of which about 26,000 acres are credited to be proved coal lands, a seam of from five to seven feet in thickness having been shown by openings and drillings throughout a large percentage of the territory.  The total production from this tract last year amounted to 846,000 tons, but during war years the output exceeded a million tons.  In addition to the mines the company owns dwelling houses for its employes, stores, a power plant, with power, light and telephone lines, railway sidings, a machine shop and other facilities necessary to carry on extensive operations in coal mining.  The last annual report of the company showed total assets valued at $9,491,126 and a profit and loss surplus of $1,110,000.

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