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Crystal Amber cuts JJB stake and takes profits

CRYSTAL Amber Fund, one of JJB Sports&rsquo; largest shareholders, yesterday said it had cut its stake from 14 per cent to just under eight per cent, ahead of the retailer&rsquo;s &pound;100m fundraising. <br /><br />Crystal Amber made a 45.3 per cent profit on the sale of 13.6m shares that it bought when the stock was 22.4p a share. The fund sold the shares at 32.6p &ndash; netting it a tidy profit of around &pound;1.2m.<br /><br />The fund bought the stake in the embattled sportswear company on the day it brokered a lifeline agreement with its landlords. <br /><br />Richard Bernstein, the fund&rsquo;s investment adviser, said: &ldquo; We spotted the recovery potential of the group. We are committed to try and help JJB&rsquo;s recovery.&rdquo;<br /><br />The fund yesterday said it would subscribe to 28.4m shares in JJB Sports&rsquo; proposed firm placing, which means JJB will still be the fund&rsquo;s biggest investment. <br /><br />Bernstein yesterday said Crystal Amber supported the attempts of beleaguered executive chairman Sir David Jones to turn the group around.<br /><br />And Bernstein dismissed the&nbsp; recent smear campaign aimed at derailing JJB&rsquo;s right issue as &ldquo;just noise&rdquo;. He added: &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have much interest in stories about David Jones... We&rsquo;re interested in JJB&rsquo;s recovery.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>RICHARD BERNSTEIN<br />INVESTMENT ADVISER TO CRYSTAL AMBER</strong><br />Bernstein qualified as a chartered accountant in 1989. Between 1994 and 1996 he ran his own specialist research house, Amber Analysis, which provided a risk management service for UK institutions managing over &pound;100bn. From 1996 until 1999 he was an equity analyst at Schroders Securities. Bernstein is also a director and chief executive of Eurovestech, a pan-European development capital fund focused on high technology enterprises. Eurovestech has so far raised &pound;1.5m in a series of share placing and gifted all of the proceeds to&nbsp; 80 different charities.<br /><br />Bernstein currently has a one per cent stake in Crystal Amber.<br /><br />He has also been a regular contributor to the mid-market financial press including The Express and Daily Mail.<br /><br />