The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Crédit Mobilier

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CRÉDIT MOBILIER, krā-dē mō-bē'lyā (Fr. krā-dē mō-bē-lēā), a large company, incorporated under the name of Société générale du Crédit Mobilier, in France in 1852, and sanctioned by the then existing government. Its objects were (1) To take in hand and originate trading enterprises of all kinds, on the principle of limited liability. (2) To supersede or buy up trading companies; and to substitute scrip and shares of its own for the shares and bonds of the company. It had at the time of its formation a capital of 60,000,000 francs, and did a very extensive business. In 1855 the directors proposed to issue bonds to the amount of 240,000,000 francs, but financiers feared so large an amount of paper currency, and the issue was forbidden to the government. The prosperity of the company declined after this, and the management changed in 1871.