Wilbur Ross: Bullish Nat Gas, Buying European Bank

Fast Money Portfolio
Fast Money Portfolio

You can’t become one of the world’s richest men and not take a calculated risk or two.

Right now, billionaire Wilbur Ross is doing just that.

Ross, who is chairman and CEO of private equity firm WL Ross & Co., first made a name for himself in the 1970’s as the country’s foremost bankruptcy advisor.

In more recent years, Ross has become celebrated for his uncanny ability to spot value in distressed businesses across a wide range of industries including energy, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles.

And during an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money Ross told us that he’s again spotted opportunities in areas that others have left for dead -- European banks and nat gas.

Here’s what he had to say:

Nat Gas

“I think we’re very close to a bottom in nat gas ,” said the billionaire.

“I think with the cutbacks in production that are coming and the continued growth in demand - mainly the substitution of natural gas for coal -- prices will double or even triple from where they are now."

However, before you run out and buy the UNG, it’s important to note Ross is talking about time horizon of a couple years. “Squiggles in the next month or two aren’t very important to me,” he says. Ross invests for the long-term.

European Banks

While others are running for the exits in European financials, Ross tells us, “we bought very heavily into Bank of Ireland .

He says it's a mistake to lump all banks of Europe into the same basket. "You have to look at Europe on a country by country basis."

And it seems Ross likes what he's found in Bank of Ireland.

Ross says that although you may think of Ireland as the pastoral Emerald Isle, it’s also the home of many high tech companies – and as a result he expects Ireland’s economy to bounce back far more quickly than most other European nations.

In addition, Ross feels Ireland has dealt decisively with its financial woes. "They're much farther along than the other countries," he says. And he thinks Ireland is attractive for business because, “it has the lowest tax rate in Europe.”

All told, Ross sees several bullish catalysts.


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Trader disclosure: On May 15, 2012 , the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Tim Seymour is long BAC; Tim Seymour is long SBUX; Tim Seymour is long FCX; e Terranova is long VRTS; Joe Terranova is long MCD; Joe Terranova is long SBUX; Joe Terranova is long UPL; Joe Terranova is long LQD; Joe Terranova is long HPQ; Joe Terranova is long SNDK; Joe Terranova is long NFLX; Joe Terranova is long SJM; y Adami is long C; Guy Adami is long GS; Guy Adami is long INTC; Guy Adami is long AGU; Guy Adami is long MSFT; Guy Adami is long NUE; Guy Adami is long BTU; Karen Finerman is short AAPL; Karen Finerman is long BAC; Karen Finerman is long JPM; Karen Finerman is long WMT; Karen Finerman is long TGT; Karen Finerman is long RIMM; Karen Finerman is long HPQ; Karen Finerman is long GRPN put spread; Karen Finerman is short SPY; Karen Finerman is short IWM; Karen Finerman is short MDX

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