Christopher Flowers Prefers Spain, Ireland for Investment

J. Christopher Flowers, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. private-equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co., said Spain and Ireland are his preferred countries for investment in Europe as companies sell units.

Flowers, 55, whose firm focuses on financial services, is interested in investing in firms with about 50 billion euros ($65.4 billion) of assets, he said in an interview with Manus Cranny on Bloomberg Television.

“The most interesting for us is maybe Spain followed by Ireland,” he said. Spain has a “lot going on there and part of the European Union and that’s appealing as an investor.”

Flowers moved to London from the U.S. last year to examine investment opportunities in Europe. The private-equity firm is a bidder for the branches of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, and agreed to buy insurance broker Fidea NV from KBC Groep NV for 243.6 million euros in 2011. It has also invested in the U.K.’s Kent Reliance Building Society in 2010.

“Europe is a source of lot of opportunities at the moment as there are many companies changing and restructuring in our business of financial services,” Flowers said.

The condition of the euro is also “absolutely critical to the survival of the financial-services industry,” Flowers said. “The euro will survive but it’s not a certainty and it’s a bit like Russian roulette.”

Flowers, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker, in 2000 took over near-bankrupt Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan with Ripplewood Holdings LLC founder Tim Collins. They renamed the Tokyo-based bank Shinsei before taking it public in February 2004.

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