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Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has told investors it likes Greece, and on Tuesday made a big bet on the recovering nation. Now, investors may be hoping for some Irish luck.

Fairfax is part of a consortium that is propping up Greece's third-largest lender with a €1.3-billion ($2-billion) investment. Eurobank Ergasias SA, which was bailed out by the Greek government's Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, will issue new shares to these backers. They will collectively become the bank's largest shareholder.

The deal bears some resemblance to the investment and insurance company's investment in the Bank of Ireland in 2011, including many of the same co-investors. Fairfax's chief executive officer Prem Watsa is again joining with U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross. Both investors sold down one-third of their stakes in the Irish bank last month.

But this time, for Fairfax, the stakes are a little higher, since it has committed €400-million to Eurobank, compared to €300-million invested in the Bank of Ireland three years ago.

Also part of the Bank of Ireland consortium was California-based Capital Research and Management Funds, which is the largest investor in the Eurobank financing, with more than €556-million on the line, and Fidelity Management & Research Co. Newcomers on this deal are Mackenzie Financial Corp. and Brookfield International Bank Inc.

Distress is the common theme between the two banks. Eurobank is seeking to fill a capital hole as wide as $4.34-billion (Canadian). The consortium is in position to provide nearly half of that, but Eurobank will need to return to the markets for the rest. The Bank of Ireland was on the verge of nationalization when the investor group stepped in with $1.5-billion in capital.

Following the Bank of Ireland deal, Mr. Watsa praised the company's CEO Richie Boucher as being important to the bank's long-term growth.

Fairfax was an early enthusiast of the Greek market. This investment follows two others in the recovering European nation, one of which was in Eurobank's real estate group, concentrated heavily in Southern Europe. The investment of about $225-million (U.S.) in June, 2013, was one of the biggest foreign investments in a Greek company listed on the Athens Stock Exchange after the recession began.

Even back then, Mr. Watsa expressed confidence in the nation's recovery. "We believe that Greece has taken significant steps towards addressing many of the key areas of its economy, thus encouraging foreign investment and creating a positive momentum that will foster increased employment and development in the country," he said at the time.

And the company sees parallels between the volatility in Greece and Ireland. When the company began investing in Greece, Fairfax president Paul Rivett said that the two nations shared similarities. "Much like with Bank of Ireland, the current situation in Greece has tarred all companies, even good ones, with the same brush," he said.

But it will be hard to beat the returns Bank of Ireland has turned out, which Fairfax describes one of its most successful investments. When the company sold down a one-third of its shares in 2011, they had more than tripled in value. Mr. Watsa recently described it as the "the one company we had put money in that had $1-billion in unrealized gains."

Mr. Watsa will be keeping close tabs on Eurobank. Fairfax and Mr. Ross' investment group, WLR Fund, have stated their "intention to actively participate in the corporate governance of Eurobank."