Pembroke: EBRD in the net

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The Independent Online
The free-spending EBRD has made its first foray into eastern European investment since 'Marble-gate'. There was no chance of the occasion passing quietly as the EBRD has chosen to buy a 20 per cent stake in the Tiriac Bank, founded in Romania in 1991 by Ion Tiriac. He is the waffly-moustachioed former Olympic ice hockey player for Romania, former Davis Cup player, former doubles partner of Ilie Nastase, and now manager of Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic. The bank has 5,500 shareholders, assets of dollars 123m and shareholders' funds of dollars 33.5m.

Mr Tiriac is a well-known mover-and-shaker on the tennis circuit. In 1990, when Romania drew the UK in the Davis Cup, he masterminded the complete rebuilding of a tennis club in Bucharest. This included trucking in raw materials and the like. It is not clear if marble was involved.

Sometimes you wonder why they bother. Take the Unit Trust Association which, as of this week, is to be called the Association of Unit Trusts & Investment Funds. zzzzz. We'd like to know why they didn't take up the new name volunteered by Gavin Grant, its departing director of public affairs, to wit the 'Collective Investments Association', or CIA. As he observes: 'It would have made booking a table for lunch interesting . . .'

A former journalist and stockbroker, Sally White, knows everyone who is anyone in the City. Now Ms White, who was the first woman City editor (on the Evening News), is turning her list of contacts to good use by promoting an Exchange for Central and Eastern Europe. Her efforts were rewarded last night when Sir Francis McWilliams, the Lord Mayor, revealed her plans to diplomats at his Easter banquet. A well-chosen platform, as she hopes the exchange will house consulates from the CIS as well as commodities dealers from the former Soviet bloc.

John Collier is the ebullient chairman of Nuclear Electric, the state-owned generator responsible for that interminable infrastructure saga, Sizewell B. Yesterday he was gleefully optimistic about winning a wager, struck with Eurotunnel's lugubrious Sir Alastair Morton, that his nuclear pile will pump out electricity before Sir Alastair's almost equally long-awaited Channel Tunnel spews forth its first passenger. We suspect the sting in the tail for poor Sir Alastair will be that Sizewell B comes in not only within budget, but also ahead of schedule.

(First Edition)

EMAP 'is one of our favourite stocks in the Media Sector', begins a glowing note written by analyst Tim Rothwell at BZW, who is better known for being cagier with compliments. 'Good progress at the interim stage has continued into H2.' The consumer magazine division - a 'star performer' has 'achieved notable successes', etc etc. In his recommendation, however, he runs true to form. Hold the shares - or buy 'on any weakness'.

If EMAP is a hold, what price the other media companies?

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