Glenamaddy, Co Galway brothers Luke (60) and Brian (56) Comer made one of the biggest domestic gambles on the recovery of the Irish economy, and so far it seems to be coming good. The property investors sold a wedge of European assets to bankroll a €500m punt on the Irish property market during the recession. Values have risen sharply.
The brothers began as plasterers before moving into property development and house- building in Britain. They cashed out at the top of the market, using the profits to invest heavily in Germany - assembling a portfolio of 30 shopping centres from Anklam to Zwickau and a 23-storey office block in Berlin called Die Pyramid.
The brothers have estimated that their assets are worth about €3bn - excluding debt. "A conservative evaluation would be we'd be worth around £1bn (€1.35bn) in England, three-quarters of that in Germany and half a billion in Ireland," Luke said two years ago. That will
have risen, but there'll be debt too.