Business Irish

Sunday 22 April 2018

Ireland's Rich List 11-20

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Lead singer Bono and bassist Adam Clayton of U2 perform during the U2360 Tour at Soldier Field on September 12, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Principle Management)
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Lead singer Bono and bassist Adam Clayton of U2 perform during the U2360 Tour at Soldier Field on September 12, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Principle Management)
ESHER, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Racehorse owner J P McManus at Sandown Park on March 13, 2010 in Esher, England (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)
ARCADIA, CA - OCTOBER 23: John Magnier of Ireland during the morning workout session in preparation for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Race Track October 23, 2008 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)



Mayo-born Irish American billionaire Thomas A Flatley died in 2008, leaving the bulk of his fortune to his wife and four children.

He emigrated from Ireland with just €24 in his pocket in the 1950s before transforming himself into a highly astute property investor.

He offloaded much of his real estate portfolio in the years before he died.



How John Magnier would love to bring wonder horse Sea of the Stars to his Coolmore Stud operation in Tipperary.

The bloodstock industry has been kneed in the whatsits by the global recession, with Coolmore having to cut back on its stallion fees. Based on values of other studs (which rarely change hands), Coolmore was once valued at as much as €2bn. This would now seem to be an extremely high valuation.

Magnier's outside interests tend to be aligned with his golfing buddy JP McManus. He has held a stake in Scottish sausage-skin firm Devro and is a major backer of Denis Brosnan's businesses, netting a fortune during the refinancing of Barchester Healthcare and from the sale of the Next Generation gyms.

Magnier is also a major collector of art and has been linked to the €22m purchase of Modigliani's ‘Reclining Nude’ in 2005 and the €15m Sir Joshua Reynolds painting ‘Omai’, both of which have been generously loaned to the National Gallery of Ireland.



The ‘Sundance Kid’ of County Limerick is notoriously private about what goes on in his hi-tech financial nerve centre on the sixth floor of an office block on the Rue de Rhone in Geneva.

The 59-year-old bookie turned financial speculator is said to have made a mint when the Mexican peso devalued in the early 1990s. He also dabbled in Ashanti Gold loan notes.

McManus has traditionally hooked up with Coolmore Stud owner John Magnier for many of his corporate raids — Dermot Desmond is often involved too.

British pub company Mitchell & Butler is finding out what it's like to have the dynamic duo as major investors. Other punts include flipping a stake in Manchester United to Malcolm Glazer.

Magnier and McManus have also teamed up with Limerick man Aidan Brooks to invest large sums of money in commercial property, spending €195m to buy the Unilever HQ in London and the €650m cash and debt purchase of an office block on Place Vendome in Paris.

Recently, he has built Ireland's largest private house, at Martinstown, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, and owns a string of hugely valuable racehorses including Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner Binocular — which came in at a handsome 9/1.

14. U2


U2's wealth could snake upwards this yearas the Dublin band is halfway through what may well be the most lucrative rock and roll tour of all time.

It is thought that the massive 360 touring machine will break even at the halfway point, leaving the remaining dates as pure profit. It is thought that there will be up to 200 dates in the two-year global tour. Some 650,000 tickets were sold in just seven hours.

The Vertigo tour netted €286m, but this tour could bring in up to €700m. They have also shifted nearly 120m albums, although the latest opus No Line On The Horizon was a sticky seller, taking an awfully long time to pass the 1m mark.

Some years ago, U2 moved a big part of their business empire to Holland for tax reasons. It would seem that rock and roll isn't about throwing tellies out of windows any more — it’s all about men in suits and tax advisers.

As a nixer, Bono is a backer of €1.5bn technology venture capital fund Elevation, which recently invested €70m in social networking site Yelp



Lord Ballyedmond, as he likes to be known, is one of Northern Ireland's most prominent industrialists. Last year his Norbrook veterinary healthcare firm launched a potential blockbuster drug Closamectin, which may revolutionise the treatment of parasites on cattle.

Despite the downturn, Haughey has indicated that sales at the company grew 12 per cent last year. Last figures available for Norbrook reveal profits of €5.1m. He has been paid extraordinarily well too.

Haughey is a major donor to the British Conservative Party and has lent his helicopter to senior party personnel. He owns large tracts of land in Cumbria, Northern Ireland as well as an island in Uganda. He sold an airport in Cumbria to a transport group in 2005.



Dunne is the managing director of Dunnes Stores and owns about one third of the company. But it's a rotten time to be in retailing and Dunnes has had to face a near 7 per cent drop in the size of overall grocery sales, coupled with an increasingly competitive market place.

Dunnes now has 151 stores across Ireland and has expanded into Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Spain. Frank Dunne also owns property assets, including a stud farm in Co Meath.



Ray O'Rourke is one of the biggest shareholders in Laing O'Rourke, Europe's largest privately-owned construction firm, which he founded in 1977. Last year the company had sales of €4.4bn and its one of the key contractors building the Olympic city for the 2012 games in London.

Mayo man O'Rourke was reported to be one of the high profile investors hit by the activities of City trader Nicholas ‘Beano’ Levene who lost large sums of client money on the markets.

The 63-year-old O'Rourke has just joined the board of giant mining company Anglo American.



Declan Ryan is rapidly becoming the new Tony Ryan. Having helped start up Ryanair, Declan parted company from the low-cost airline to do his own thing.

The publicity-shy 46-year-old fronted the Ryan family’s investments in Asian airline Tiger Airways, which floated last January, with the Ryan stake worth €45m.

He is also involved with cheapo Mexican airline Viva Aerobus, having spent €40m for a stake.

Ryan also made a mint investing in US airline Allegiant, which floated in 2007, netting the Enniskerry man around €26m — just two years after paying €5.5m for his shareholding.

Apart from owning a major chunk of Guinness Premiership rugby team London Irish, Ryan is also a major biotech investor in Ireland, holding stakes in Merrion Pharmaceuticals (although he sold €1m of shares last year).

He is also a backer of a gas sensor business and has just incorporated a new aviation company called First Irish Jet, which may get involved in leasing or air transport according to company documents.

He is thought to have sold over €40m worth of shares in Ryanair, while the family still owns a stake worth €45m.

Ryan is an extraordinarily generous philanthropist, having given away close to €27m in the last five years through his One Foundation — named after a U2 song.

His younger brother Shane is making his name as a stud farmer, running the Castletown Lyons estate in Kentucky. He also won a court case taken by the Revenue over the tax treatment of €18m worth of Ryanair shares sold in 2002.

Their father Tony Ryan left €95m in his will when he died in 2007. While much of his wealth may have been tied up in discretionary trusts for his family, Ryan's estate also included over €45m worth of shares in companies ranging from Paddy Power, Tesco and Tullow to properties in Ibiza and the US — as well as the 1,000 acre Lyons demesne in Kildare. He also left over €3m worth of wine from his French vineyard, Chateau Lascombes.



Kingspan founder Eugene Murtagh owns a €175m stake in the Cavan-based insulation company. But that's only the half of it.

He is suing Merrill Lynch over allegedlyproviding poor investment advice. His affidavit detailed how a €24.8m investment in a bond represented just 2 per cent of his net worth in 2007. That would indicate that he was worth €1.24bn. Asset values have crashed since then. But he's clearly been well undervalued.

His brother Brendan has been poleaxed by the collapse in property markets, with the commercial court hearing that he was “insolvent” last month. He had been worth close to €300m.

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