Profile of Luke and Brian Comer the Billionaire Plasterers
Billionaire property developers who founded and own the Comer Group. The Comer group is a private company.
Luke and Brian Comer
Rosscahill, Galway, Ireland
Shannaugh, Glenamaddy, Galway, Ireland
Luke left school early and became an apprentice plasterer with state training agency AnCO
Brian finished Leaving cert
(family of eight)
Emigrated to London in 1984
Moved into property development after car crash inspired them to move away from physically working.
Once Britain went into recession in the UK in the eighties they bought up property at cheap prices.
On their youth in Galway:
“wild as March hares,”
“We were working since we could walk, thinning beet,”
“tomorrow is promised to no one” (In reference to the early passing of their mother).
On first jobs plastering in Ireland:
“That was the first money we made and it was savage hard work,” recalls Luke. “I remember the amount of times we were there until 4am with the blood running down our hands and it lashing from the heavens. We were crying with tiredness and pain. When you earn money like that you value it.”
On their plastering business in the UK:
“We knew we couldn’t stick it. We had to be out of it in our early twenties,”
“Every week we’d need two articulated lorry loads of plaster,”
“There were no cranes or forklifts on the site, we had to lift the plaster, 200 weight at a time, up a flight of stairs.
On their dad:
“Whenever we hear people criticising him we think of how he was light years ahead”
“There is only one way to do anything and that’s to go and do it.’ The work ethic was bred into us.”
On personal feelings:
“We are no different to any other human being. There are days you wouldn’t feel like meeting anybody, days you wouldn’t feel like getting out of bed. I think everybody has a little depression, the black dog as Churchill said.”
On bad investments:
“We bought a lot of ‘pups’, a lot of developments that lost money,”
On expensive tastes (which they don’t have)
“Someone who was selling a yacht once asked me to buy it. I told him I was only on one boat, from Holyhead to Dublin, and I couldn’t wait to get off it!”
On making money in property:
“It’s all about timing and pricing. If you buy low at the right time, no matter how thick or stupid you are, you will make money.”
On moving investments from England to Germany
“In England prices were getting crazy, and Ireland was worse,” says Luke. “In Berlin you could buy property for €70 per square foot, when the equivalent price in Ireland at the time was €500.”
On moving investments from Germany to Ireland after recession:
“You want to be running in with your cash and spending money when everyone else is running out,”
“In some cases prices had suffered a 70-90pc drop, “So, it wasn’t a hard decision for us to buy in Ireland. We had good cash reserves.”
Our favourite quote from the brothers
“There’s only one way to do anything and that is to go and do it.”
It actually came from their Dad.
The brothers took up residence in Monaco to reduce their tax bills as early as 2004.
The brothers started out in their teens.
They set up their own business. They could have been the hardest working plasterers for someone else.
Their work ethic was at the time, and even now, ridiculously high.
We know this sounds ridiculously simply but property investment is all about buying low and selling high.
The difficult thing is when to know the market has peaked.
Lost £30 million in the stock market
We don’t necessarily believe in total frugality once you are very wealthy – it is important to enjoy the best things in life that are made by the best craftspeople out there whether it be suits, shoes, food, wine etc. Everything in balance. Check out our profile on Liam Carroll, he was also frugal but ended up losing most of his wealth.
If a building is for sale in a big city for less than it costs to physically build it then buy it