Tunel Company Changing Hands

 II. After the declaration of Second Constitution (1908), many important projects for İstanbul came into question. In this context, in addition to the investments such as electrification of trams and realization of İstanbul subway system, electrification of the city was also one of the planned investments. But British Tünel company claimed that they had preferential rights in these matters. Therefore, to eliminate the challenges against electric trams and metropolitan railway, that they could bring, the purchase of the company seemed a reasonable solution.

On the other hand, in order to consolidate the capital required to realize such large investments, creation of a consortium has been decided. Thus, both electrificationof İstanbul and transportation services could be kept under control, and the opposition of the company would be prevented by acquisition of the company by the consortium.
International consortium to be established would accommodate Tünel, Tram and Electricity companies. At this stage, because the authorization of the Tünel company has been taken, the company decided to make an extraordinary meeting on December 2, 1910. In this meeting, Article 87 of regulation was changed so that the company could take part in the consortium to be established. The said amendment allowed that the board of directors of Tünel company was authorized to transfer the concession to another company or to merge with them. In this way, the requirements of participation in the consortium was prepared.
The next step is to leave British nationality. 
There was already a provision in Article 3 of the contract, dated December 5, 1904 to leave British nationality and to enter Ottoman nationality. Therefore, as a first step of this procedure, internal regulations of the company were adopted on April 30, 1911. The name of the company has been registered as “İstanbul Şehri Dahilinde Dersaadet Mülhakatından Galata ile Beyoğlu Beyninde Tahtelarz Demiryolu Osmanlı Anonim Şirketi” “Société Anonyme Ottoman du Chemin de Fer Metropolitan de Constantinople entre Galata et Pera”. 
According to the articles of incorporation, the rights that the company owned due to the contracts, dated November 6, 1869 and December 5, 1904 were transferred to new Ottoman company. In addition, in the articles of incorporation, unless otherwise occurred, it was stated that the company would continue to exist on December 20, 2000. 
This would be in effect and until December 2, 1992, and it would not change the end date of the contract. The capital of the company was 165.000 Ottoman gold piece, divided into 33.000 bearer shares, each 5 Ottoman gold piece. Among the objectives of the company, of which the headquarters are in İstanbul, was to use British Tünel company rights, to rebuild and to operate the railway line, and to realize and to operate the railway lines or construction works that might obtain their concession in the future. In the regulation, the Ottoman Tunnel company was permitted to merge with another company provided that the government permit was obtained. In addition, the issues such as the management of the company, the general assembly, annual accounts and expense book and distribution of the dividends, were clarified. On the occasion of the adoption of the regulations, third rank Nişânı Âli-i Osmânî was given to William Albert, who performed as the director of the company since the company’s establishment, on May 11, 1911.
Then, at founders committee, held on July 27, 1911, the formation of new Ottoman Tünel Company was completed. At the same meeting, Deutsch Orientbank General Manager M. Le Dr. Alexander was appointed as the chairman of the board of directors.   Von Hartmann, Deutsch Orientbank Istanbul Director, was appointed as the vice president . William Albert would keep his same position in the new company.
Within the framework of these developments, “The Metropolitan Railway of Constantinople from Galata to Pera” company was liquidated at the general shareholders’ meeting in London on July 31, 1911. Accordingly, the liquidated British company transferred their concession to Ottoman Joint Stock Company for £ 125 000. After that a consortium, Union Ottoman Société d’Intrepises Electriques à Constantinople (İstanbul Consortium), was established to accommodate Tünel, Tram and Ottoman Joint Stock Electric companies in September, 1911. The consortium consisted of 6 German, 7 French, 6 Belgium, 6 Belgium-Hungary partnerships and 1 Swiss group. The objective of the consortium was to perform various undertakings such as transportation and electrification in İstanbul and to keep those sector under control. Within this framework, Tram company, Tünel company and Electric company were under the structure of the consortium. The consortium bought all shares of those companies. The funding required to buy Tünel and Tram companies was 36 Million francs. For Electric company, 18 Million franc was reserved. The consortium also projected to built Beyazıt - Şişli subway which would cost 36 million francs.
The Istanbul consortium which has undertaken the operation of the Tünel was a part of a large Belgium company, “Société de Tranport et de l’Entreprise Finencière INDUSTRIELLES” (SOFINA), operating in many countries of the world. Because, the Istanbul consortium was a part of SOFINA, which played an active role in electrification and transport services in many countries, from Argentina to Russia, they have become closely related of such sectors in our city. After that, this would continue until the nationalization in the Republican era.
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