Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Bedtime Story

Once upon a time.....in a faraway land....there was this legend of the wind.  If you could harness it....capture it....channel it.....and then rid the nation of the evil coal and nuke-power generators....then all would be well.

So mortal men came and established a company called Prokon.  It would operate as a syndicate and sell the chance for other mortal men to invest and make money off the wind.

In the beginning, all was well.  Then came the business analysts and the speculation men.  Prokon was not big enough or profitable enough.  They talked and talked, and finally decided....they'd market Prokon in a mythical sort of way, and insist that they could pay six-percent dividends.

Yeah, I know....no bank in Germany....for well over twenty-five years....has offered a CD in the range of six-percent dividends.

This offer, along with ad's on subway platforms, and in various newspapers....caught the eye of the public.  People flocked in droves to Prokon.  They tossed money into the pit, and left the safety and comfort of the lousy 1.5 interest from five-year CD's at local banks.

Well.....someone reached a point where they asked, how is this possible?  Then....in the twinkling of an eye....the 1.4 billion Euro Prokon bucket of investment money dropped.

In the matter of days....Prokon was bankrupt (at least on paper).  They stalled around, and had government audit guys ask what the heck was going on, but it was mostly gone at that point.  What journalists will say now is that Prokon as around twenty million Euro in liquid funds.  Their debt picture is close to three-hundred-ninety million Euro.

The administrator in charge of this bankruptcy effort?  He's saying that folks will get some money back....certainly not what they are owed.  Most of the folks owed money....I suspect....are just hoping for a fifty-percent return and anything beyond that is really a gift in some ways.

There's roughly 22k windmills in operation in Germany today....growing each month.  Here in the area I live....there's a minimum of six-hundred windmills.  You can't drive more than ten kilometers in any direction without seeing one on some hill or ridge.

I think Prokon probably had a good business model started in the beginning.  I also suspect that they hired one or two people to pump up enthusiasm, and they dreamed up this six-percent pay-off.  It's funny....you never hear about criminal investigations over conduct like this, or audit guys showing up at a guy's house with a search warrant.

Most bedtime stories end up with some fairy appearing, or some prince fitting the right shoe on the poor beggar wrench.  In this case, the story ends with bankruptcy, lost capital, and a bunch of court guys talking over a failed scheme.  Without a dragon or knight....it's a pretty lousy story and would put anyone to sleep.

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