business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/b … 807230.ece
*Sean Mulryan, the founder and executive chairman of Ballymore Properties, appears to have survived the recession.
Last year, when there were rumours that Mr Mulryan was selling 25 of his 50 beloved horses and had joined the growing legion of Irish self-made men to have put their helicopters on the market, it looked as though trouble was brewing.
Like most property companies, Ballymore, which Mr Mulryan had built into one of Europe’s biggest, was hit hard by the slump in property values and the drying up of City bonuses. In the past, it had relied heavily on debt finance to fund its schemes and many of its under pressure Irish bank lenders began restricting new loans.
Ballymore had laid off 50 of its 400 staff and suspended plans for big projects in Manchester and Dublin. Work was halted on the Piccadilly Tower, after £8 million had been spent laying the foundations, and on the €200 million (£174 million) U2 Tower, billed as the tallest building in Ireland.
* Ballymore boss in £500m fundraising campaign
* Sean and Bernadine Mulryan
However, Mr Mulryan, 54, has kick-started a £500 million fundraising campaign, according to a weekend report, suggesting that, for him at least, the worst is over. He is looking for wealthy investors prepared to put in a minimum of £30 million each. The money would be used facilitate between five and six new projects. Applications were submitted recently for two towers at the £2.5 billion Wood Wharf development in London’s Docklands, in partnership with British Waterways and Canary Wharf.
A stonemason by trade, Mr Mulryan named his company after Ballymore, the town in Co Kildare where he started his building business in 1982. He sold his house, his car and his wife’s car to raise the funds for his first development.
Like his Irish peers John Magnier and JP McManus, he is a horse-racing fanatic and has dipped his toe in English football, taking a stake in Sunderland FC. It was at Mr Mulryan’s house that he and Niall Quinn, the chairman of Sunderland, persuaded Roy Keane to manage Sunderland in 2006.
Also, like some of his Irish contemporaries, Mr Mulryan was not averse to some of the excesses that were part and parcel of the Celtic Tiger. For his 50th birthday party he hired Deborah Harry, the Blondie singer, to perform.
He is married to Bernadine and has five children. He lives at his 230-acre Ardenode Stud in Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare. *