Monday 11 December 2017

Who's buying Ireland: Five new names to chew on

Wilbur Ross has joined the board of Bank of Ireland
Wilbur Ross has joined the board of Bank of Ireland
Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

THE RTE documentary Who's Buying Ireland which aired last night gave an insight into what Irish assets are being bought up, mostly in Dublin, post the boom.

While most of us Irish are too poor after spending a decade buying and selling houses to each other to buy much, here are some of the names that have emerged in the past few years that are purchasing assets ranging from government bonds to hotels.

Not surprisingly they are mostly foreign and mostly US while some have Irish heritage that they are very proud of.

1. Neville Isdell was born in Downpatrick in 1943 and is the former chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola. More recently he has emerged as the buyer of the CHQ Building in Dublin's IFSC - a landmark boom- time building redeveloped by the Dublin Docklands Authority for an estimated €40m.

"Initially our focus will be to make some demonstrable improvements within the building as we work through the plan to re-create CHQ,'' Mr Isdell has said about his latest asset.

2. Kennedy Wilson is a US investment company that agreed to buy Dublin’s Clancy Quay project for more than €80m from the receiver earlier this year.   The 13.8-acre site is located beside the River Liffey and has 420 apartments. It also has planning approval to develop 323 more homes, a hotel and buildings for education. The man behind the company is William McMorrow.

3. Billionaire US investor Wilbur Ross recently called his almost 10pc stake in Bank of Ireland as his best investment since the financial crisis. Ross and other North American investors bought into the bank in 2011. The bank said earlier this month it is to begin repaying back some of the bailout money it received from the State.

4. FUND managers at US-based Franklin Templeton made a second major punt on the Irish economy by buying Irish shares earlier this year. The asset management fund's global "small and mid cap" equities team based in New York now controls Irish shares valued at around $616m (€465m). That investment has increased as Franklin Templeton sees shares linked to the commercial Irish property market as a significant investment opportunity.

5. Of course there would have to be a pub in there somewhere. UK pub group JD Wetherspoon is set to open 30 pubs in the Republic. Belfast born founder and  Tim Martin says the company plans to open between three and four pubs initially and expanding this to 30 in the longer term.

A better performance at its Northern Ireland pubs influenced the decision, he said.




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