Swiss Parliamentarians Seeking Curbs on "Cowboy" Investment Funds

30 de abril de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Swiss Parliamentarians Seeking Curbs on "Cowboy" Investment Funds</h1><p>April 30 (EIRNS)--Because of growing concern over foreign takeovers of key Swiss industrial firms, the country's lawmakers are considering tightening investment rules. "We need a financial marketplace where not every cowboy can count on success," Bruno Frick, a member of the upper house advisory board was quoted saying in today's Bloomberg.com. "It shouldn't be easier for investors to buy companies in Switzerland" than anywhere else. Lawmakers are considering lowering the percentage of stocks an investor must report from the current 5% to 3%. Under current rules investors are managing to buy 10% of a companies stock without reporting it, enough in many cases to force a change in the management of the company.</p><p>The key strategic firms, including OC Oerlikon Corporation, a top machine tool maker; Ascom Holdings, a manufacturer of radio systems for the Swiss military; Sulzer AG, another key machine builder and other firms have been targeted for takeover by a group of investors including, Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, and Austrians Ronny Pecik and Georg Stumpf. When this group gained control of enough shares of Unaxis Holding AG, they kicked out the management and renamed the company OC Oerlikon Corp and are now using it as vehicle to takeover other companies.</p><p>Switzerland's lower house has already approved measures to tighten investment rules and is awaiting a decision by the upper house to approve the same measures, which could lead to a national referendum. The Swiss move on investment funds follows similar moves by other European countries including Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.</p></div></body>