In October 1858, a public floatation was officially launched
through the channels of the press:
UNIVERSAL COMPANY OF THE SUEZ MARITIME CANAL,
Founded by decree of His Highness the Viceroy of Egypt.
M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, concessionary of the Suez Canal, in fulfilment
of the mandate issued to him by His Highness the Viceroy of Egypt,
is floating a public company, having ascertained the cooperation
of Europe's influential financial institutions. The Suez Canal
is intended to re-establish direct communication between the two
worlds, which the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope had caused
to be broken off. In order to preserve the breadth and universality
inherent in this project, M. de Lesseps is launching the floatation in every country.
The aims and the commercial and financial benefits of this project
are as follows:
1° The right to open up a major shipping canal through the Suez
isthmus destined to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea
and the Indian Ocean, the China Sea etc.;
2° The linking of the Nile with the major shipping canal through
the Suez isthmus by means of a canal to be used for irrigation
and river traffic;
3° The development of 133,000 hectares (app. 328,700 acres) of land
settled on the Company, of which 63,000 hectares (app. 155,700
acres) can be cultivated, and 70,000 hectares (app. 173,000 acres)
form a strip two kilometres (just over a mile) wide along each
bank of the canals and around each port.
The canal through the Suez isthmus reduces the distance of the
voyage between Europe and the Indian Ocean by 3,000 leagues, and
saves major shipping an enormous sum of money. In view of this
the toll of 10 Francs per (metric) tonne, determined by the concessionary
decree as the fee payable for shipping using the canal, is considered
to be moderate. However, since it will be levied on craft which
average 4 million tonnes, it will yield a considerable income,
over and above the profits generated by the canal link to the
Nile and by the development and sale of the 133,000 hectares of
land settled on the Company.
The Company's assets are declared to be 200 million Francs, divided
into 400,000 shares of 500 Francs each.
The headquarters of the Company are in Paris.