Wilbur Ross rules out investing in AIB

US investor who netted windfall on Bank of Ireland not interested in ‘healthy’ banks

 Wilbur Ross: The New York investor  sold a 5.5 % stake in Bank of Ireland for €477 million in June 2014, three years after buying into the lender. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Wilbur Ross: The New York investor sold a 5.5 % stake in Bank of Ireland for €477 million in June 2014, three years after buying into the lender. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

Billionaire US investor Wilbur Ross, who almost tripled his money on his bottom- of- the- cycle investment in Bank of Ireland, has ruled out buying into AIB when the Government begins re-privatising the bank.

The New York investor, who sold a 5.5 per cent stake in Bank of Ireland for €477 million in June 2014, three years after buying into the lender, said that he is only interested in struggling businesses.

“Our investment mandate is to invest in companies that need help in reviving themselves, not in banks that are already healthy,” he said when asked whether he would consider buying shares in AIB when the State starts offloading its 99.8 per cent stake.

The bank reported an annual profit for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis when it announced its 2014 results in March.

Mr Ross said that he was concentrating his Irish investments in a joint venture with Cardinal Capital, an investment group co-founded by Dublin businessmen Nick Corcoran and Nigel McDermott, that provides capital and mezzanine finance in property investments.

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has said he expects to recover all €20.8 billion of public bailout money pumped into AIB.

Mr Noonan recently valued the Government’s 99.8 per cent stake at €11.7 billion and loan notes that convert to capital at €1.6 billion.

Mr Ross advised the Government to put even greater effort into promoting research and development and entrepreneurship to continue on the road to full economic recovery following the crisis.

The businessman was speaking before hosting a reception at his Manhattan home on Tuesday night to celebrate the 230th anniversary of the Royal Irish Academy and the organisation’s publication of a five-volume history of art and architecture in Ireland.