US bond guru Michael Hasenstab, who loaded up on Irish bonds at the height of the financial crisis in 2011, reportedly made a €5.6 billion return on the bet.
Mr Hasenstab, manager of Franklin Templeton’s global bond and total return funds, at one stage owned about 10 per cent of Irish bonds, having piled into the country’s debt as other investors headed for the sidelines.
The Californian-based fund manager made a 70 per cent return on his €8 billion investment in Irish Government securities, Bloomberg Markets has reported in a feature interview with Mr Hasenstab. A similar move by the contrarian investor to snap up Hungarian bonds the same year also returned billions for his funds, though an investment in Ukrainian notes turned sour when Russia invaded Crimea in 2014.
Mr Hasenstab’s main funds began, in 2014, to sell down their Irish holdings, then valued at almost $11 billion (€9.8bn), before exiting his final positions in the country’s debt earlier this year.
Franklin Templeton’s audacious move into Irish bonds in July 2011 occurred in the same month that the market interest rate, or yield, on the country’s benchmark 10-year bonds rose above 14 per cent and Moody’s, one of the world’s leading ratings agencies, downgraded Ireland’s credit rating to junk, or below investment grade.