Thursday 16 August 2018

How fortunes changed after the 2008 crash

Dermot Desmond. Photo: Sportsfile
Dermot Desmond. Photo: Sportsfile
Sean Quinn. Photo: Getty
Chryss and Tony O'Reilly.
Denis O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Kevin Lagan.
John Magnier. Photo: Getty
Martin Naughton. Photo: Tom Conachy
Liam Carroll. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Tom Roche
Tony Ryan
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

A decade on, Gavin McLoughlin takes a look at how 2008’s Rich List top 10 are faring now.

1 Sean Quinn €3.5bn

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Sean Quinn. Photo: Getty

The driving force behind the Quinn Group empire had a dramatic fall from the top. He was declared bankrupt in 2011, with a stake built up in Anglo Irish Bank via contracts for difference costing him a fortune. The Quinn Group's insurance company collapsed, something consumers are still paying for via a levy on non-life insurance policies.

In 2014, ex-colleagues of Quinn bought some of the Quinn Group back from international investors who had taken it over, and Quinn returned as an adviser, but left in 2016. His new venture is a betting company called Quinn Bet, managed by his son Sean Jr.

2 Tony and Chryss O'Reilly €2.75bn

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Chryss and Tony O'Reilly.
 

O'Reilly was a billionaire who has seen his fortunes change for the worse. A disastrous attempt to keep Waterford Wedgwood afloat was a key part of the series of events that would see him selling his Kildare estate Castlemartin. For many years he controlled Independent News & Media, which publishes this newspaper and several others. Now in his 80s, he spends most of his time in France. O'Reilly's wife Chryss, the daughter of a Greek shipping magnate and a distinguished horse breeder, retained her vast personal fortune.

3 Denis O'Brien €2.15bn

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Denis O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
 

The communications billionaire has been a constant on the Rich List top 10 over the course of the recession. He is in fourth place on this year's Rich List with estimated wealth of €5bn. His Caribbean-based telecoms company, Digicel, is restructuring as the company focuses on the opportunities presented by data. O'Brien's assets span media, hospitality and services. He sold petrol station business Topaz to Canadian business Couche-Tard and owns engineering services business Actavo and radio group Communicorp. He is the largest single shareholder in Independent News & Media, with a 29.9pc stake.

4 Dermot Desmond €2.1bn

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Dermot Desmond. Photo: Sportsfile
 

The financier maintains a low profile in Ireland, where investments include substantial stakes in listed travel software business Datalex and Independent News & Media. Desmond (right) is also a backer of alternative lender Broadhaven. Never one to shy away from an activist approach, he exited One51 (now called IPL Plastics) in 2017, having been opposed to plans to float the business the year before. The business is now set to go public this year. Desmond is a major backer of Canada-based Mountain Province Diamonds, and recently put another $60m into the business.

5 Kevin and Michael Lagan €1.3bn

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Kevin Lagan.
 

After a dispute the Northern Irish brothers divided up the business they built in 2010. Having turned the family quarrying firm into a vast construction and civil engineering empire, the rift led Kevin to take control of what became Lagan Group Holdings, including the Lagan Asphalt and Lagan Homes businesses. Michael's assets became Lagan Construction Group, which operates in infrastructure and energy. Estimates of their wealth have fallen significantly.

6 Tom and Ann Roche and family €1.15bn

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Tom Roche
 

The Roches are bluebloods of Irish business. Ann's father is the late hotelier PV Doyle, while Tom's father and uncle founded CRH. Tom and Ann control NTR - which has moved out of toll roads and into renewable energy. The legacy assets were hived off into a separate company in 2015. While still extremely wealthy, they are no longer in the top ten.

7 John Magnier €1.1bn

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John Magnier. Photo: Getty
 

Magnier has held on to a top spot among the super rich. Having made his initial fortune in horse breeding, he has grown his wealth pile via canny investments. In 2016, he and his friend JP McManus sold an office block in Paris for €1bn.The Cork-born businessman is also a backer of nursing home group Barchester Healthcare, and previously made headlines when he and McManus got into a dispute with ex-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson over a racehorse.

8 Martin Naughton €1.05bn

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Martin Naughton. Photo: Tom Conachy
 

Naughton built Glen Dimplex into a world leader in heating appliances. He stepped back from the chief executive role some years ago to become president of the company - and then left that position in 2016. Today the business is run by his son, Fergal. His wealth has grown significantly over the past decade. A generous supporter of the arts, Naughton also holds a stake in the Merrion Hotel, and has invested in green energy.

9 The Ryan Family €1.03bn

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Tony Ryan
 

Tony Ryan - the family patriarch and visionary who founded Ryanair and Guinness Peat Aviation - passed away in October 2007. His eldest son Cathal died eleven weeks later following a short battle with cancer. Cathal's brother, Declan Ryan, is the driving force behind Irelandia Aviation, a group of airlines replicating the Ryanair model in the US, South America and Asia. Another brother, Shane Ryan, is a significant player in the bloodstock industry. Together Declan and Shane remain in the top 20.

10 Liam Carroll €1bn

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Liam Carroll. Photo: Gerry Mooney
 

Carroll amassed a property empire building affordable apartments in Dublin city centre - dubbed "shoeboxes" in certain quarters. He famously eschewed the trappings of his enormous wealth, living in a relatively modest house in Mount Merrion and driving a Toyota Corolla. However, his property group collapsed during the crash, with large borrowings built up in the years beforehand. Unlike many of his Celtic Tiger peers, Carroll has not re-emerged in the post-crisis era.

Total wealth of top 10 - €17.1bn

Sunday Independent

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