In June 2013, as majority and controlling shareholder, Ian led a consortium of investors in acquiring Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing, the largest single-site manufacturer of copper with 500 years of heritage. The business was acquired for €207 million.
The German government has invested more than €400 million in the facility and, over the last 5 years, the company has invested a further €85 million in creating a state-of-the-art modern facility. 85 per cent of copper is now manufactured in the greater Germany area, and the MKM facility is ideally located on the Leipzig railway line to China.
MKM has an annual turnover of more than €1.1 billion, employs over 1,100 people, and processes approximately 270,000 tonnes pa of copper and other associated metals in producing various alloys.
Ian is the majority shareholder, holding 70 per cent of the company, and with others controls more than 85 per cent.
While working with JPMorgan, Ian was approached by the British Ministry of Defence, having recognised his work in Iraq with the US Department for Defense. Ian had helped to successfully establish the Iraq Trade Bank and developed the oil industry in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The British Ministry of Defence had noticed that there were substantial mineral opportunities in Afghanistan but, due to the environment, the country had been unable to attract the attention of international companies, except for those in China.
Originally chaired by Jan Kulczyk, Centar is now a shareholder of a number of companies that have won approval from the Afghan government to operate gold and copper mining operations at Balkhab and Badakhshan. In 2015, following the death of Kulczyk, Ian took over as Chairman.
Unfortunately while mining licenses have been granted, a change of government adminstration has meant that permission to start operations has become stuck in bureaucracy. Ian, with the support of Cherie Blair, continues to push for authorisation to start operations.
Ian teamed up with former BP boss Tony Hayward to acquire CompactGTL, which leverages the Fischer–Tropsch process to turn gas into diesel.
With the support of new shareholders, CompactGTL was able to sign a Memorandum of Co-operation with the Kazakhstan Ministry of Oil and Gas for the construction of a 3,000bpd gas-to-liquids plant.
In July 2014, the company concluded arrangements for a $50 million investment by a consortium of investors to build the world’s first small scale commercial GTL plant.
In 2014, Ian was approached by a number of former employees from Salomon Brothers who had founded and sold Threadneedle Capital, a platform for hedge fund managers.
Believing that the regulatory burden for startup investment managers was prohibitive, Halkin Asset Management was formed with Ian as a majority shareholder. It offered these managers a multi-asset platform, offering portfolio management and advisory services without the traditional $200 million AUM minimum.
In 2016, the platform was used by partners as the basis of raising the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund. Through the company's acquisition by FAB and rebranding to Centricus Asset Management, Ian allowed himself to be diluted to a minority shareholder.
In 2017, Ian invested in fintech startup Revolut, a digital banking alternative that includes a pre-paid debit card, currency exchange, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments.