Wilbur Ross, the famous American investor and manager of WL Ross, has recently been on FOX Business Network, where he presented his insights regarding one of his latest investments, in the Bank of Cyprus, as well as the European economy in general. Mr. Ross said that he believes that Cyprus might change its course, which probably explains his investment in the Bank of Cyprus, which is worth around $1.0 billion. . In addition, Mr. Ross added that taken into account that the Bank of Cyprus holds over 160 branches in Russia, they will have to do something about them, giving the tough situation around Russia.
“They already have 80,000 shareholders, believe it or not. Because, when the crisis came, the EU required them to do a bailing. Namely, they converted 47.5% of the deposits over 100,000 euro into equity,” Mr. Ross said about the Bank of Cyprus.
So, in this way, the Bank of Cyprus has a vast number of shareholders, even though these shareholders have obtained their stakes involuntary.
Regarding the Cyprus recovery overall, Mr. Ross considers that the situation will be improved by an increase in the Russian tourism in Cyprus. Russians and nationals of other Russian-speaking countries might choose Cyprus as a holiday destination, because it is “a very good place to go. A lot of A lot of the restaurants have waiters who speak Russian – menus in Russian, things of that sort, so a lot of middle class Russians and Ukrainians vacation in Cyprus,” Mr. Ross added.
Mr. Ross also discussed the European financial situation. He considers that it is hard to speak about the financial recover of Europe as a whole, but rather to take a look at each country in particular. As an example, Mr. Ross said that the U.K. managed to recover well, taking into account that it was not hit very hard by the recession.
“Ireland as you can see from the recent figures is coming up very, very well from their terrible collapse of their own banks. Greece was on a slower track then those and that’s why we waited till a few weeks ago to go into Eurobank there and now Cyprus, we think is going to be the next one to really turn around,” Mr. Ross said.
Overall, Mr. Ross has been more investing in Europe, because this region is at an earlier “stage of recovery.” Therefore, with the U.S. markets growing steadily over the past years, finding a profitable and cheap investment is harder than in Europe.
““[...] we’ve been buying a lot in Europe because being at an earlier stage of recovery and that’s where there are idiosyncratically depressed situations. The U.S. has a reasonably healthy economy for the last few years; markets at all-time highs, so it shouldn’t be too surprising and it’s hard to find inexpensive things here.”