Saturday 18 November 2017

Bank of Cyprus seeks Wilbur Ross substitute if confirmed as Secretary of Commerce

Wilbur Ross
Wilbur Ross

Paul Tugwell

Bank of Cyprus is in talks to replace Wilbur Ross as the Nicosia-based lender's vice-chairman if he's confirmed as the Secretary of Commerce in President-elect Donald Trump's administration, ceo John Hourican has said.

Former Bank of Ireland investor and director Mr Ross is in the process of transitioning to a possible new role as the US government's Commerce Secretary

"We are having a conversation with WL Ross & Co about how they might stay involved and who might be a sensible candidate to replace Wilbur on our board," John Hourican said.

"Those conversations are engaged and ongoing, but not yet complete."

The US investor, who's worth about $2.9bn (€2.72bn) according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, made big bets on troubled European banks after the financial crisis.

As vice-chairman and a shareholder in Bank of Cyprus he has been involved in trying to turn around the lender, along with former Deutsche Bank ceo Josef Ackermann, currently the Cypriot lender's chairman.

Shares of the Bank of Cyprus began trading for the first time on Thursday on both the London and Cyprus Stock Exchanges.

Wilbur Ross sold the private equity firm that bears his name a decade ago and the company is under no obligation to sell its 1.6pc stake in Bank of Cyprus.

After the Crash, Bank of Cyprus sold off units and raised €1bn from new investors, including from Mr Ross.

The bank established an Irish registered holding company last year to smooth the way to shifting its primary stock market listing to London.

Companies based in Cyprus are not eligible for inclusion in the FTSE UK indices.

Irish companies are, however. Shares began trading in London yesterday at 327 cents a share, rising to as much as 355 cents.

(Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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