Punta Alegre Sugar Co.

After graduating from Harvard, in 1910 Robert Wrisley Atkins (1889-1948), the elder son of Edwin F. Atkins, joined E. Atkins & Co.  In 1915 his second son, Edwin F. Atkins Jr. also graduated from Harvard.  On August 13, 1915 with the expectation that a 3rd generation of Atkinses would take charge, the Punta Alegre Sugar Co. was incorporated in Delaware with Edwin F. Atkins as president.  This concept was derailed when in 1923 Edwin F. Atkins Jr. died in a plane crash traveling from Key West to Havana as informed in this Global Shark Accident File report.

At inception, Punta Alegre Sugar Co. was led by Robert W. Atkins who benefited from the experience and advise of the Boston investment firm of Hayden, Stone & Co. and of Eugene V. R. Thayer the president of Boston's Merchants National Bank who was in charge of the company's finances.

Shortly after incorporation, the stockholders of the Trinidad Sugar Co. would agree to become part of Punta Alegre Sugar Co., as did the owners of Central Florida.  Punta Alegre Sugar Co. also owned the new Punta Alegre sugar mill which was still in the construction and planting stage at the time of its incorporation.  As a holding company, in time, Punta Alegre Sugar Co. would become 100% owner of the outstanding shares of 4 subsidiaries owning 12 sugar mills producing a total 516,587 m.t of sugar in the 1924-25 season1:

  • Antilla Sugar Co.
    • Báguanos - built in 1920 was acquired by Antilla Sugar Co. in 1924
    • Tacajó - built in 1918 was acquired by Antilla Sugar Co. in 1924
    • Presidente - acquired in 1925 by Antilla Sugar Co. and soon thereafter dismantled
    • San Germán - acquired in 1925 by Antilla Sugar Co., its capacity increased with machinery from Central Presidente
  • E Atkins & Co.
    • Caracas - acquired March 1920 from the United Railways of Cuba who in turn had acquired it from the Terry family
    • Ermita - built in 1914-15 Punta Alegre Sugar Co. acquired a minority interest together with John Randolph in 1920
  • Punta Alegre Sugar Co.
    • Baraguá - built in 1915 by a group of Pittsburgh investors, was acquired by Punta Alegre Sugar Co. in 1922
    • Florida - built in 1915 and acquired in 1916
    • Punta Alegre - built in 1915
    • Soledad - acquired by E. Atkins & Co. in 1884
    • Trinidad - established in 1892 and merged into Punta Alegre Sugar Co. in 1916
  • Compañia Azucarera Mercantil Central Agustin
    • Central San Agustin - acquired in 19120

During his years at the helm of the American Sugar Refining Co., Robert W. Atkins was president of Punta Alegre.  In April 1926 Robert E. Atkins resigned to the presidency of Punta Alegre Sugar Co. and William C. Douglas representing the "Pittsburgh interests" became president.

Financial difficulties caused by the Great Depression resulted in a reorganization that in 1931 transferred ownership of Central Báguanos and Central Tacajó to the newly organized Antilla Sugar Estates, a Cuban corporation subsidiary of Sugar Plantations Operating Co, in turn a subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Canada.  Antilla Sugar Estates continued operating the sugar mill until 1948 when The Royal Bank sold it to Salustiano Garcia Diaz who owned the sugar mills until nationalized in 1960.

1 Cesar J. Ayala – American Sugar Kingdom 94