Final Word from Tuesday, March 30, 2004

There's no denying that Sazka's new hockey arena is a beautiful structure, and there's little doubt that it will serve as a magnet for cultural and sporting events for years to come. What's less certain, though, is who will end up owning it. It's not even clear who owns it today. Bankers involved in financial discussions with Sazka say the stadium is essentially owned by the suppliers who have financed the construction so far. The high price of the building suggests that Sazka might have intended from the start to walk away from it at some point and let the creditors have it. Euro quoted a supplier of chairs as saying that prices of furnishings are doubled along the way because of all the "commissions" being paid. It's not uncommon for a Czech company to go bust several times before it reaches equilibrium. If bankers won't touch Sazka Arena with a 10-foot pole, there's a good reason for it. Aleš Hušák


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