Why Financier Wilbur Ross Loves Ireland

Turnaround financier Wilbur Ross, Jr., through WL Ross & Co., in June 2014 sold its remaining shares in the Bank of Ireland Plc. WL Ross & Co., Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., and three unnamed investors invested €1.1 billion, essentially 10 cents per share, for a 34.9% stake in Bank of Ireland back in 2011. The investor group bought the troubled bank stake months after Ireland agreed to the EU/IMF bailout. Ross was an active investor in the bank, joining the board of directors and assisted in raising more capital for the institution. WL Ross & Co. sold shares of Bank of Ireland in March 2014 at 32.8 cents per share and the rest in June, earning a huge profit.

In 1998, Fortune Magazine called Ross “the King of Bankruptcy.”

Emerald Isle

Plummeting global oil prices, levels of recovery in the construction sector and steady acceleration in Ireland’s information technology sector, have been positive economic signs for the country. Ireland is poised to be one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies for 2014. Ross has taken his focus toward other sections of Ireland, seeing profit potential in Ireland’s property markets through debt. Already, fixed income giants and private equity firms have been purchasing Irish real estate debt, bidding on deals from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). In April 2014, affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. purchased the Project Eagle portfolio of loans from NAMA. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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