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Wilbur Ross: How Greece may get some debt relief

Wilbur Ross: Good signs from Greece
Wilbur Ross: Good signs from Greece

The European Union is unlikely to reduce debt owed by Greece but could lower the interest rate, billionaire distressed asset investor Wilbur Ross said Monday, after the anti-austerity party's election victory raised concerns about a possible Greek exit from the euro zone.

The chairman of WL Ross & Co. and other international financiers invested $1.8 billion in Eurobank this summer—becoming the bailed-out Greek bank's biggest shareholders.

Asked about his investment, Ross said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" that it may be "more skin" than he wanted, given the circumstances. "It makes you feel scary," he said but added, "I don't think this will be the world's worst bucking bronco."

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Ross said he's encouraged by the speed at which the new Greek government is starting to take shape. He noted outgoing prime minister Antonis Samaras had also talked tough before he took office but became more cooperative once on the job.

Describing the financial troubles facing Greece, Ross said, "By August, they need 15 billion euros of debt repayment and interest payments on those loans."

"Greece right now is paying about 8 billion euros a year in interest. The average rate is about 2.5 percent," he continuedfiguring if creditors were to cut that interest rate in half "that would save them 4 billion euros a year."

In one of his first major European investments after the 2008 financial crisis, Ross put money into the Bank of Ireland in 2011, which helped keep it out of state hands at the height of the euro zone debt fallout.

He told CNBC Monday he tripled his money there.

Ross also represents a group of investors that owns 17 percent of Bank of Cyprus of which he's vice chairman.