Phoenix Mecano Management AG

Kusnacht, a village/town overlooking Lake Zurich, lies a half-dozen miles from Zurich and has a reputation for being one of Zurich's toniest residential suburbs. It's here, directly right across the street from the water, that I find the three-story villa housing Phoenix Mecano Management.

With revenues of $343 million and 4,000 employees, Phoenix manufactures electrical components. It was established here in Zurich back in 1975 and is essentially controlled by the Goldkamp clan. Hermann Goldkamp, Chairman, and his son CEO Benedict Goldkamp control over 30% of the shares.

You can't just enter the villa but have to buzz a buzzer. The door opens and Mrs. Sachs, who says she's an office assistant, opens the door. I'm not invited in, instead Sachs says they received my letter but, "don't want to talk to me". At the same time she's telling me this I look down and find I'm being attacked by a swarm of ants. I ask Sachs, "is it nobody has time for me or nobody wants to talk to me?" Sachs repeats the "don't want to talk to me" line.

My antenna always goes up when companies give me the heave-ho. Are they trying to hide something? Or are they just plain secretive? This is odd, especially for a publicly traded company. I was going to stand there and ask more questions but the ants are going crazy and really attacking me. Hmm, attack ants---maybe it's a cheap means of security developed by Phoenix to keep away pesky visitors.