General Public Utilities Corporation
General Public Utilities Corporation
- Only one piece available...
- Inventory on the way
General Public Utilities Corporation
November 6, 1963
Security-Columbian Bank Note Company
12" (w) by 8" (h)
This company was originally incorporated as the Associated Gas & Electric Company (Ageco) in 1906. A group of small-town promoters around Ithaca, New York, created Ageco as a holding company for 12 small gas and electric properties: ten in south central New York and one each in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The total value of the properties was $1.2 million. In spite of some minor acquisitions over the next several years, Ageco remained a group of small, rural New York companies as late as 1921, with assets under $7 million. In 1922, however, Ageco entered a period of almost two decades of dramatic growth tied in with incredibly convoluted and often illicit financial manipulations.
By 1924 Ageco's assets were up to $65 million, and more than tripled to $217 million in 1925. The most significant acquisitions of this period were the Pennsylvania Electric Corporation and the Manila Electric Company. Hopson funded these purchases by issuing the first of several unusual types of convertible securities that were to become his standard operating method. Hopson's method involved complex juggling of assets between holding companies and subholding companies. The process was so complicated that accountants, lawyers, and shareholders could not follow it, enabling Hopson to derive huge sums from the system by way of his personally held service companies, which performed various tasks for the operating companies and charged them outrageous rates. In the three years preceding the stock market crash of 1929, Hopson sold nearly $500 million worth of Ageco debentures convertible to stock. Because stock prices were rising so fast during this time, people were anxious to exercise these conversion rights and bought up the bonds quickly. Ageco ended 1929 as one of the five largest holding-companies in the nation. With the collapse of the stock market, however, Hopson was no longer able to support Ageco's pyramid-like structure through the sale of new securities.
By 1932 Ageco was in a desperate situation. The Depression had slowed revenue growth of the operating companies, and Ageco had difficulty raising money to pay off maturing bonds. In an effort to save his empire, Hopson announced in early 1932 that over the last few years all of Ageco's income-producing assets had been shifted into a subsidiary, Associated Gas & Electric Corporation (Agecorp), formerly called Associated Utilities Investment Corporation. Ageco security holders suddenly discovered that their stock was subordinate to any debt that Agecorp might create.
Then, in a further attempt to avoid bankruptcy, Hopson unveiled his plan for recapitalization, in 1933. Under the plan, investors were given the option of exchanging their Ageco debentures for Agecorp securities. The catch was that they would have to take either a 50 percent reduction in their principal amount, or retain their principal and accept a significant cut in interest rate.
Although the recapitalization plan was somewhat successful as a stalling tactic, a group of security holders attempted to force Ageco into receivership. This litigation and similar legal attacks lasted until 1937, when a compromise was struck. The compromise required Hopson to appoint three independent directors to his board to help work out a more equitable reorganization plan and to protect the shareholders' interests. At the same time as this battle raged, the Treasury Department was trying to collect $54 million in back taxes from Ageco. Throughout these attacks Hopson personally continued to fare very well financially. He and his family collected at least $3.6 million between 1934 and 1938 from the service companies alone.
Meanwhile, Congress had begun its work on the Public Utility Holding Company Act, passed in 1935. Hopson's furious lobbying against the act helped to make him a target for investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other federal agencies. In the course of its investigation, the SEC put a halt to certain illegal accounting practices used by Ageco and Agecorp, and both companies filed for bankruptcy in January 1940. Hopson himself eventually was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years in prison.
The reorganization that followed bankruptcy was a success. The reorganization staff included Albert F. Tegen, who had served on the SEC investigation team and then became president of Ageco, and Willard Thorp, a leading economist, who became chairman of the board. During this period of trusteeship, creditors received Ageco stock, claims were settled, reduced power rates improved customer relations, the tangle of securities and holdings was simplified, and $14 million a year in interest savings was filtered back into previously delayed maintenance and new construction projects. By 1945 Ageco stock was six times as high as it had been in 1942, and the new streamlined Ageco was the pride of the SEC. The company's name was changed in 1946 to General Public Utilities Corporation (GPU).
Today, General Public Utilities Corporation holds all the stock of three electric operating subsidiaries that provide about 1.9 million customers with 39 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in a service territory covering about half the land area of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jersey Central Power & Light Company accounts for about half of the GPU system’s revenue, and supplies about 43% of New Jersey with power. Pennsylvania Electric Company serves a largely rural 17,000-square-mile area that includes many mining, manufacturing, and agribusiness customers. Metropolitan Edison Company’s 3,274-square-mile service area in Pennsylvania contains a wide range of manufacturing, agricultural, recreational, and tourist facilities. Another key subsidiary is GPU Nuclear Corporation, which operates the system’s nuclear facilities. The Oyster Creek generating station at Forked River, New Jersey, and the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, generated about 22% of GPU’s total energy needs in 1990. GPU also owns GPU Service Corporation, which performs various services for the operating utilities, and General Portfolios Corporation, which makes nonutility investments.
Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied. All items offered are collectible in nature only. So, you can frame them, but you can't cash them in!
All of our pieces are original - we do not sell reproductions. If you ever find out that one of our pieces is not authentic, you may return it for a full refund of the purchase price and any associated shipping charges.
Are the certificates offered on your site genuine or reproductions?All of the certificates you see on our site are genuine pieces, we do not sell any reproductions.
Are the certificates you sell negotiable on any of today's stock markets or indexes?
No. All of the pieces we sell are either canceled or obsolete and have collectible value only.
Are the images presented in your product listings of the exact piece I will receive?
It depends. We try to present images of the exact piece you will receive whenever possible. However, when we are offering quantities of a piece, this is impossible. Within every product page we detail whether or not you will be receiving the exact certificate listed, or if the image is a representative example of the one you will receive.
How will you ship my order and how much do you charge?
We ship all orders via the United States Postal Service. Most domestic orders are shipped via Ground Advantage. USPS International, Priority and Express Mail, UPS and DHL services are also available, and costs are calculated during checkout. Current charges may be reviewed here.
Can I return my purchase?
Absolutely. You may return any merchandise, for any reason, within 30 days of the purchase date for a full refund of the purchase price.
We guarantee all of our pieces to be authentic. If you ever determine that a piece is not authentic, it may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price as well as any associated shipping charges.
If your order exceeds $35, and the shipping address is within the United States, shipping via USPS Ground Advantage is FREE!
We make every effort to ship out all orders within 24 hours of receipt.
We ship the majority of orders via the USPS, with domestic orders using the Ground Advantage service.
Shipping is calculated during checkout. Upgraded services such as Priority and Express Mail, as well as UPS and DHL options, are also available.
As soon as your order is shipped you will receive your tracking information via email.
OVERSEAS ORDERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DECLARE FULL ORDER VALUE ON ALL SHIPMENTS. CUSTOMER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL VAT/CUSTOMS CHARGES.
Our goal is to make sure every item you receive is exactly what you had in mind. If you not happy with your purchase, we’ll help you get it sorted in a timely and professional manner.
You can return anything we offer for an exchange, refund or store credit within 30 days of delivery. Return shipping costs may apply, and the item must be in its original condition and packaging.
Any shipping charges collected on the original order are not eligible for a refund.