1916.10.04.De James Burness and Sons.Londres

James Burness & Sons
London and 3, Bute Crescent, Cardiff
138, Leadenhall Street

London, 4th October 1916
Messrs Worms & C° - Paris

Dear Sirs,
Société minière du Tonkin. By your private letters of the 30th November and 2nd December, 1915 you were kind enough to give us some confidential information with reference to this concern, and you intimated in the latter favour that you would not be prepared to undertake coaling orders from them without knowing something further about them than you then did.
At that time we were already committed through their Agents here to several orders for supplies at Aden and during the latter part of 1915 & up to date our friends at Aden & Colombo have made about a dozen supplies to their time chartered steamers amounting to about 3000 tons in all. The first draft was paid on presentation under discount and the others which have been accepted payable at the Banque belge pour l'étranger here, have all been met in due course.
From the outset they have time chartered 7 or 8 Japanese steamers and one flying the American flag, but we understand that they secured several of the former at low rates and were able to relet them on their arrival in Europe to considerable advantage, so that they must have made money. We realise that it is very speculative business and that they may be caught when rates of freight fall away, but we do not think this will be just at present, and meanwhile in view of possible competition for their Colombo bunkering business for 191?, we should feel much obliged if you could obtain for us any information as to the present position of the Company, and whether we should be justified in giving them continued credit.
Some of the correspondence in connection with supplies to the steamers has been conducted in the name of the Compagnie française minéralurgique, but the drafts have all been on the Société minière du Tonkin.
We are, dear Sirs,
Yours truly,

James Burness & Sons

In as much as this is time chartered business, we should not have the usual lien on the ship through the Captain to fall back upon, but only be able to look to the personal credit of the Charterers.

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