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US billionaire Ross plans major spend on Irish property

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Wilbur Ross

Wilbur Ross

Wilbur Ross

Wall Street billionaire Wilbur Ross wants to invest significantly in the Irish property market.

Ross (77) is one of the world's richest investors and has identified Ireland as having significant growth potential.

He believes that property prices here are going in one direction.

"We do believe that as the Irish economy continues to recover, so will Irish property," he said.

Ross, said that he wishes he had taken action quickly when the prices were at an historic low during the recession.

"The only bad thing is that we did not make more investments at the bottom," he said in an interview with the Sunday Business Post.

The business mogul has signed up to a €400m joint venture with two Irish financiers through Cardinal Capital Group. This is now processing "a strong backlog" of prospects to finance housing and office builds, Ross said.

The billionaire now has plans to build relationships with the state loan agency NAMA and the National Pension Reserve fund in a "public private partnership", he said.

STAKE

Ross is best known for his investment in Bank of Ireland when it was close to a full state takeover in 2011. He sold his stake last June to more than double his money.

However, he said that Ireland's banking sector doesn't need new players.

"I do not believe that Ireland needs more banks," Ross said.

"As the domestic banks recover they will become very competitive and so will the foreign banks that have decided to be long-term players in Ireland."

But although he is positive about Ireland's future economic recovery, he has concerns about other European countries.

"My biggest long-term worry is France," he said.

"The government is highly indebted and operating at large deficits which have not solved the unemployment problem. Both wealthy older people and bright young professionals are fleeing the country."

Ross is estimated to have personal wealth of upwards of €3bn.

hnews@herald.ie


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