France. La Gutta-Percha, 42, Rue du Pont d`Ivry, Alfortville.

This company was set up in 1937 for a term of 50 years. Its business was the treatment of gutta-percha, rubber, artificial resins and derivations, the manufacture of moulded articles and insulators. As of 11 June 1958 its registered capital was FF67.5 million and it employed 50 people.

The president and general manager was M. Rene Corbery.

Directors were M. Rene Torcheboeuf and M. Gaston Lebeau.

All directors gave their place of residence as the address of the company.

(File No.1. Stafford Records Office).

  1. File No. 7. Agreements on file. (Stafford Site).

    1. 26 June 1957.

      Agreement with Societe Anonyme La Gutta-Percha for the manufacture of adhesives under license, the sales territories to be France, Tunisia, Morocco and “the territories covered by any French mandate”. (These territories were defined on page 14 of the agreement).

      Royalties were set for the:

      first 12 months at £1,000
      second 12 months at £1,500
      third 12 months at £2,000
      fourth 12 months at £2,500
      fifth 12 months and thereafter £3,000

      This was unusual as royalty payments were normally based on invoiced sales. No explanation is given for this departure from convention.

    2. 26 June 1957.

      A supplemental agreement excluding from the principal agreement any adhesive “used for the fixing of glazed wall tiles, mosaics to walls and floors or the slabbing of tiled fireplaces.

    3. 4 February 1960.

      A supplemental agreement to that of 26 June 1957 varying the royalty payments to be made by La Gutta-Percha. This agreement deleted the clause showing royalty payments from years one to five and subsequent periods and substituted a new clause specifying royalty payments of £1,500 for each operational year.

      It also allowed La Gutta-Percha to terminate the agreement by giving one years notice finalising on 31 December of the termination year.

    4. 5 January 1961. A supplemental agreement to that of 26 June 1957 and 4 February 1960 specifying by name the territories in which La Gutta-Percha may sell the products made under license.
    5. 28 March 1961.

      An agreement between Evomastics Ltd. and La Gutta-Percha for the manufacture of the products in the Evomastics Ltd. prospectus. The terms of the agreement followed those specified in the Evode agreement dated 26 June 1957.

      A minimum turnover figure is given for each 12 month period and subsequent to the fifth year of operation. ( This type of clause had not previously appeared in any other licensee agreement). The royalty was set at 5% of the invoice value of sales.

      D5189/4/3/10. Stafford Records Office.

  2. General Correspondence.
    1. The correspondence exchanged following the signing of the agreement shows the difficulties which occurred by a licensee attempting to find raw materials from a domestic source to replace those used in standard Evode formulations. The correspondence was long and involved obviously consuming a lot of time on both sides. Later on when a more sophisticated approach was adopted by Evode with the introduction of Raw Material Data Sheets it was easier to get the message over to people who were unfamiliar with the raw materials involved and the manufacturing techniques they would have to adopt. It was not a simple matter to deal with such problems at arms length. In the short run the best method of dealing with such problems had to be the training of a chemist on Stafford site as relatively complicated instructions could be misinterpreted particularly when language difficulties intervened.

    2. The correspondence between VV and LGP covered a wide range of topics and raw materials. After some months HS wrote to LGP suggesting that they limit the range of products to be manufactured until they had more experience. This was always a primary problem with new licensees wanting to embark on a wide ranging portfolio of products when problems of experienced staff, manufacturing equipment, raw materials and marketing strategies had not been resolved through lack of knowledge of the technologies which they hoped to exploit.

      Also there was the usual disagreement about the interpretation of the royalty agreements and their payment and, following what is stated above, a complaint that Evode was not offering the technical advice to get them started, ignoring their own shortcomings.

    3. In a letter dated 10 December 1958 M. Lebeau alleged that, having received formulation information from Evode and comparing it with technical information available from the US and Germany LGP were being misled by Evode, complaining that, having invested a great deal of money in plant, promotion and personnel they were “…quite disappointed and displeased….”.

      Both VV and EHB took these comments personally and wrote stinging replies. This particular phase of the correspondence took place between December 1958 and January 1959.

    4. Letters exchanged in February 1960 illustrated the cavalier way in which LGP approached visits to Stafford and the arrangements for clients they had requested to visit Stafford. They had no consideration for anyone they inconvenienced by this lax approach to arrangements made in good faith and blamed other people for the failure when things went wrong. Even when a direct approach was made offering to train a chemist at Stafford it was ignored.

    5. Letter dated 28 June 1960.

      M.Corbery advised HS that there was a likelyhood that the French Government would compel all businesses in the Paris area deemed to be a danger to the population to move out. A plot measuring 75,000 sq. yds.. 130km from Paris had been reserved where Evomastics, bituminous, Evokote and Vik products would be made. A request was made for suggestions of the floor space required for these activities, including raw materials storage, packaging and warehousing.

      (Although there is no direct evidence to support this assumption it is possible that this site was Chauny which was where Dia Prosim was established).

    6. Letter February 1964.

      Hot melt prices were disputed.

      Originally LGP had promised large quantity off-takes of hot melt adhesives on the basis of which prices were calculated. Only small consignments were taken but LGP still expected to pay the original prices quoted although these were specifically based on tonnage quantities.

      File No.5 Stafford Site.

    7. Letter dated 21 January 1965.

      This advises Evode that the adhesive manufacturers in France have formed an association entitled National Association of Industrial Adhesives Manufacturers to negotiate their interests with the Common Market and with a view to setting up a European Association with its HQ in Paris. M. Rene Corbery is appointed as chairman of the association. They wanted to make contacts with UK equivalents.

    8. By September 1965 the question of royalty payments was becoming a concern to Evode. HS pointed out that their turnover (16 September 1965) now exceeded minimum royalties and that they should be submitting sales and royalty returns for which a request was made.

    9. In October 1964 Evode requested that they had sight of technical bulletins being prepared by LGP. This correspondence suggests that LGP did not keep in close touch with Evode as regards their activities. They also made it quite plain that they had their own methods of presenting technical data and that Evode`s input was not welcome. Correspondence in this vein id present at a later date.

  3. Hot Melt Adhesives.

    (File No.5 Stafford Site)

    1. Letters were passed between the companies in January 1965 suggesting that LGP purchase hot melt adhesives from Evode with a 10% discount for quantity. In reply LGP stated that they were now in a position to manufacture hot melt adhesives and would no longer be purchasing from Evode.

    2. Letter dated 8 February 1965.

      BL advises LGP that Evode may be able to help with obtaining cheaper prices for Vinamul and Foochow resins and suggests that E. Peak should visit LGP to advise on the use of the Hurrell emulsifier in the manufacture of Bal-Tad, Greenseal, ES288, 863 and 873. The above was in reply to a letter dated 29 January 1965 which raised the questions and also assured Evode that they could be trusted to take on a license to manufacture BAL products.

    3. Letter dated 1 May 1965.

      From HS to LGP who had, apparently received complaints that their hot melt quality was inferior to that made by Werner & Mertz. HS`s letter assured them that there had been no complaints from Italy or Holland on this matter although they did use different raw materials.

    4. In a series of letters spanning May 1965 a patent granted in France to a Dr. Gerd-Zeno Jonas came to light appearing to challenge the use of hot melt adhesives for edge veneering applications. This patent application had been denied in Germany in view of the existence of an American patent No.2616824. It was the view of both Evode and Werner & Mertz that in the circumstances the French patent should be rescinded. This was followed up by the receipt of a letter from the German Patents Office, the contents of which were not on file.

    5. October 1965.

      There was correspondence concerning the prices paid for raw materials in the various countries where Evode licensees operated. The French felt that they were paying over the odds. They asked for invoices from Italy, Holland and Germany concerning prices paid for these specific products. HS refused to approach these licensees on the matter but did supply information on prices paid at Stafford which showed that they were lower for Neoprene rubbers but higher for Elvax resins than paid in UK.

      LGP were very persistent in their questions to Stafford about prices paid for raw materials, packaging materials and the prices charged to wholesalers and retailers.

  4. Mastics and Sealants.

    1. By July 1965 LGP were asking for information about the manufacture of mastics products such as General Purpose, Butyl 37 and Plumbers Mait and a request was made for information on filling equipment, cartridges and application guns. It was suggested that a chemist should be sent to Stafford for training and then, when they were ready, someone would go to France to help when they were ready to proceed.

      They were trying to run before they could walk again.

      (File No.5 Stafford Site)

    2. In January 1966 LGP indicated, prematurely, that they were ready to offer GP, Butyl 37 and Plumbers Mait to the market. EHB offered advice in a letter dated 26 January on how they should go on about the approach to various markets. Nothing transpired.

      (File No.6 Stafford Site).

    3. Letter dated June 1966.

      It would appear that by this date LGP still had not yet decided to plunge into the mastics market in France. M. Lesbats was asking for details of Evode`s sales in UK in terms of volume and costs and was apparently due to visit Simson and Flli. Zucchini on a similar mission.

      (File No.6 Stafford Site).

  5. Shoe Related Topics.

    1. Letter dated 6 February 1957.

      LGP raised the question of a license from VIK Supplies and in his reply dated 19 February HS pointed out that this would be covered in the forthcoming agreement. This was, apparently, concerning the machinery supplied by VIK to the shoe trade and prompted a letter from Caillet-Service, 31, Rue Bouvet, Romans-sur-Isere suggesting that if the agreement with LGP did not work out they would be interested in taking up the discussions to co-operate with Evode. They were already associated with a company called Dinkopp in West Germany.

      (D5189/4/3/10. Stafford Records Office).

    2. In January 1966 the question of VIK Thermaflo progressed further with a meeting between LGP and representatives from Du Pont, Geneva in Paris. Du Pont was keen to progress this topic from their own point of view and suggested a European-wide approach but LGP suggested contact with Evode.

      Apparently LGP had a long standing presence in the shoe industry in France.

      Du Pont had suggested a promotion but by letter dated 3 February 1966 HS rejected the idea as premature because the Printapuff system and sole bonding machinery under development were, as yet, not fully tested.

      Also caution was to be observed as United Shoe Machinery and particularly Bostik were promoting similar machines using hot melt rod against hot melt film. When the Evode systems were ready a group approach would be made.

      (File No.6 Stafford Site).

    3. Letter dated 16 February 1966.

      LGP informed Evode that Messrs. Heinike were due to introduce a sole bonding system in France using hot melt film. This caused surprise in Stafford and HS wrote back to say that this was the first that Evode had heard of it as Heinike were well known in West Germany and Canada.

      (File No.6. Stafford Site).

    4. Letter dated 2 March 1966.

      The information concerning Heinike was corrected by LGP. The companies concerned were now reported to be Neocolle and Emficol. M. Corbery presided over a meeting which took place to decide the format of a conference which would take place on 22 and 23 March to discuss adhesives in the shoe industry and both of the above companies announced their intention of presenting lectures on their techniques for bonding soles using hot melt film.

      (File No.6. Stafford Site).

    5. Letter dated 21 March 1966.

      Cox and Wright had, apparently, decided to demonstrate the Printapuff machine at the Semaine de Cuir in Paris. LGP pointed out that their M. Dechamps and seven local agents were in close touch with shoe manufacturers throughout France and, to date, about 15 shoe manufacturers had submitted soles for pre-coating.

      M. Corbery was well acquainted with M. Boutevilain the chairman of the National Leather Council, organisers of Semaine de Cuir. If it was Evode`s intention to exhibit immediate action should be taken to make application for an exhibition stand. LGP participation was offered.

      (File No.6. Stafford Site).

    6. Letter dated 30 March 1966.

      HS points out that Cox and Wright have their own agents in France and that there is no agreement in place to supply hot melt film to LGP by Evode via Cox and Wright. It would be LGP`s decision to do this business, which is seen only as short-term as other adhesive systems were being evolved which would replace it. This correspondence arose from LGP querying whether they would have to have an agreement with VIK.

      (File No.6 Stafford Site).

    7. Letter dated 4 April 1966.

      LGP advise that they will have their own stand at Semaine de Cuir and have made arrangements that it will be close to that of Albeko who, as the agents of Cox and Wright in West Germany, will be demonstrating the Printapuff machine.

      (File No6 Stafford Site).

    8. Letter dated 1 July 1966.

      VV advises LGP that difficulties had arisen concerning the Printapuff machine which was to be shown at Semaine de Cuir. It was not in a fit state to demonstrate the application of the hot melt film. As a second best choice shoes which had been bonded using the process having been worn and as new would be supplied to LGP for exhibition purposes. Folders with technical information would also be supplied. (File No.6 Stafford Site).

  6. Richards Tiles Formulations.

    1. Letter dated July 1961.

      LGP requested information concerning the manufacture of Greenseal Richafix.

      (D5189/4/3/10. Stafford Records Office)

    2. Letters exchanged in March 1966.

      The payment of a 6% royalty on Evo-Stik 9053/2 was queried by LGP. It was pointed out that this was an adhesive for ceramic tile fixing (and therefore subject to a royalty split between Evode and Richards Tiles). It was stated in the agreement which existed between the two companies that the royalties paid were dependent on the application of the adhesive, not which company was the inventor nor on the trade mark under which it was sold.

      (File No. 6 Stafford Site).

June 2004