Kilo Moto PDF Print E-mail
Written by Howard Shakespeare   

KILO MOTO by Howard Shakespeare

Published in print (with additional illustrations) in ‘Scripophily’, the journal of the IBSS, June 1993.

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Most of us know the red, and perhaps the brown, shares of the Société des Mines d’Or de Kilo Moto, probably the most attractive of all the cheap goldmine shares. But few know anything about the company.

The mines were in the far north-eastern corner of the Belgian Congo (later Zaire, now Congo), the concession (which was 2 ½ times the size of Belgium !) extending to the frontiers with Uganda and Sudan. The first gold deposits were discovered in 1903 in the Ituri river by prospectors engaged by the colonial administration. The administration developed the mines, and the Kilo mine was opened in 1905, the Moto following in 1911 ; in addition gold was extracted from alluvial deposits in river gravels. Mining techniques were not very sophisticated, and in 1919, as a means to introduce industrial methods of extraction and treatment, the government created an autonomous body, the Régie Industrielle des Mines de Kilo-Moto. This, with the building of hydro-electric stations to power crushing-plant, etc, led to a substantial increase in production ; the mines, primarily Kilo, produced nearly 5,000kg by 1930. Concentrates were shipped to Hoboken, near Antwerp, for refining.

The Régie was converted into a commercial company in 1926, when the Société des Mines d’Or de Kilo-Moto, was formed in Brussels, under Congolese law. The Head Office was at Kilo. The capital was F230,000,000, consisting of 60,000 actions privilégiées of F500 (repayable over 50 years and replaced by actions de jouissance), 200,000 parts sociales of F1000 and 1,400,000 parts bénéficiaires of no par value.

40,000 of the privilégiées and all the parts sociales and parts bénéficiaires were issued to the Congo government in payment for all the assets of the Régie. The remaining 20,000 privilégiées were subscribed by a range of Belgian banks, including the Société Générale and the Banque de Bruxelles.

The company was nationalised without compensation by the Zaire government, but the shares are still quoted on the Brussels bourse. Presumably shareholders hope that, at some time in the future, a new government in Zaire will offer some compensation. The red shares are quoted at about BEF4, and the other colours about BEF50, so it would not pay collectors to redeem their Kilo-Motos in this manner.

Extremely few of the pre-war shares have been seen. There were also Obligations and Bons de Caisse in the pre-war years, but these are unknown to collectors.

The pre-war shares were all reissued after 1944, as were all Belgian shares, and it is those post-war shares which we know now. Those seen are :

1.        1 Part Bénéficiaire (red & black), much the best-known and commonest of the Kilo-Motos.

2.        5 Parts Bénéficiaires (brown & black), rare

3.        1 Action de Jouissance (green & black), rare.

There was also 1 Part Sociale (colour unknown), never seen, perhaps issued to the Congo government like the 1928 Parts Sociales. There may perhaps have been other types (especially for more than 1 share).

Copyright INTERNATIONAL BOND & SHARE SOCIETY 2001

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