By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Many of Ireland’s rich and famous joined the stampede for Telecom Eireann shares and made a killing as the price soared by more than 20 percent when they were launched in stock markets in Dublin, London and New York.
Leading figures in politics, entertainment, the Catholic Church and business reaped rewards from the biggest equity launch in Ireland history according to details from the 29,000 page share register published in the Sunday Times.
Over 574,000 people bought shares but most people only made small profits after modest investments.
However, more than 11,400 people applied for the maximum £100,000 worth of shares and were allocated only £17,508 due to the demand. They would have made paper profits of over £4,200 if they sold when the shares climbed 24 percent in early dealing.
Retired "Late Late Show" presenter Gay Byrne, U2 Manager Paul McGuinness, film director Neil Jordan and U2’s The Edge all scooped profits from the launch.
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Also cashing in were outgoing EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn,
President Mary McAleese’s husband, Martin, Education Minister Michael Martin, and junior ministers Frank Fahey, Mary Wallace and Noel Treacey.
At least four Catholic bishops joined the scramble but some of the
biggest gains were made by high-rolling businessmen. John Magnier of Coolmore Stud, Mark Kavanagh who helped develop the Financial Services Centre, financier Dermot Desmond, Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex, Howard Kilroy, Bank of Ireland governor, and Paddy Wright , the Irish Smurfit boss, are among those on the register, according to the newspaper.
People who applied for shares through nominee accounts would not have been listed on the register.