Final Word from Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Stratton Investments took the CR by storm in Oct. 1995, when it declared that it was buying shares in several Czech companies from the Harvard funds and was going to send in managers to turn them around. Stratton made a lot of noise and gave Harvard some much-needed legitimacy that allowed it to soak even more money out of shareholders. Jan Sýkora of Wood & Co. said in July 1996 that basically nothing of Stratton's grand turnaround plans actually materialized. The people behind Union banka seem to remember Stratton well. Invesmart, UB's investor, hasn't put up any of its own money and, like Stratton, can pull out and disappear at any time. Invesmart, too, seems to be a front for Czech investors who, like Harvard Capital Investment Holding, are mainly interested in cheap assets. Running a business or bank was apparently never a priority for any of these "turnaround experts."


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