Drowning In A Sea Of Io Us

Lajos Bokros is sitting on a time bomb. Like most East European bank chiefs, he is stuck with hundreds of millions of dollars in bad loans to state enterprises left over from the communist era. But instead of waiting for a miracle turnaround to bail out his balance sheet, Bokros, chairman of the state-owned Budapest Bank, is trying a radical cure. With the little spare cash he can muster, he is buying out delinquent debtors, firing old-line managers, and trying to clean house himself. His latest target: the Hungarian capital's Ganz Danubius shipyard. "It's risky," Bokros concedes. "If I fail, I lose $13 million," 20% of the capital of his bank.

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