Matheson and Co Ltd
The merchant banking firm of Matheson & Co. was founded in 1848 to manage the London interests of Jardine, Matheson & Co. It succeeded Magniac, Jardine Co., which had fulfilled this role since 1839, and took over its premises at 3 Lombard Street, where it remains. It became a limited company in 1908.
Matheson & Co.'s varied responsibilities were undertaken by a number of different departments. The Companies Department oversaw its work as the secretaries and registrars of various public companies associated chiefly with Jardine, Matheson & Co. and Jardine Henderson Ltd of Calcutta (formerly Jardine, Skinner & Co.). The companies under its remit included the British & Chinese Corporation Ltd, Indo-China Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, Mountain Copper Co. Ltd, Chamber Wharf & Cold Stores Ltd and Ch. Goldrei, Foucard & Sons Ltd.
The Export Department bought capital goods and a wide range of manufactured goods, textiles, metals and chemicals, principally for Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s Import Department and the Jardine Engineering Corporation. It acted as Agents for the Hongkong & Kowloon Wharf & Godown Co. Ltd, Hongkong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd and Hongkong Tramways Ltd in Hong Kong, and for the Ewo Cotton Mills Ltd, Ewo Breweries Ltd, Shanghai & Hongkew Wharf Co. Ltd, Shanghai Dockyards Ltd and Shanghai Power Co. in Shanghai. It bought for Jardine Henderson Ltd, Calcutta, and represented that firm in the handling, buying and shipping of exports from the U.K. and the Continent. It also dealt with industrial concerns in the United Kingdom and the Continent which were represented by agencies in the Far East belonging to Jardine, Matheson & Co.
The Produce Department was concerned chiefly with Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s China Produce business. It handled large quantities of all types of produce shipped from the Far East on Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s behalf, including bristles, eggs, stillingia oil, teaseed oil, wood oil, and sheep and camel's wool. The Tea Section sold tea for Jardine, Matheson & Co. Ltd and the Indian tea companies managed by Jardine Henderson Ltd.
The Insurance Department's main business was underwriting for the Canton Insurance Office Ltd, which was managed by Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong. The firm was also underwriter for the Lombard Assurance Co. Ltd and Triton Insurance Co. Ltd, and had a close association with the Alliance Assurance Co. Ltd.
The Banking and Finance Department arranged the finance of Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s import and export business throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, and financed the trading of Matheson & Co.'s own subsidiary companies throughout the world. It also provided assistance to present and retired members of staff of Jardine, Matheson & Co., as well as the staff of Matheson & Co., with the handling of their investments.
Lastly, the Shipping Office handled the interests of Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s two main shipping companies, the Indo-China Steam Navigation Co. Ltd and the Australia China Line Ltd.
Over time Matheson & Co. acquired a number of subsidiary trading companies. These included Bradley British Overseas Ltd; Durant, Bevan & Co. Ltd; Huth Produce Sales Ltd; Huth Coffee Sales Ltd; Huth Produce Sales (Overseas) Ltd; Huth Trading Co. Ltd; Lombard Assurance Co. Ltd; Miles & Kitson Ltd; and Mathesons Nominees Ltd.
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- Subject: Macau X