A rebound at John Paulson’s family office boosted returns last year but it still wasn’t enough to keep the billionaire investor from having to play catch-up.

Funds at Paulson & Co. gained as much as 32% in 2023, according to a person with knowledge of the returns, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The results were partly driven by investments in Greek bank Piraeus Financial Holdings SA, pharmaceutical firm Bausch Health Cos. and miners Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. and International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.

The profits came after a difficult 2022, when some of the firm’s biggest equity bets floundered. Bausch, where Paulson is board chairman, made up more than a fifth of his US stock portfolio at the start of 2022, according to public filings, and sank 77% that year. The manager’s third-largest US position, Brightsphere Investment Group Inc., was down 20%.

The 2022 declines came on top of losses at most of Paulson’s funds in the previous two years. He had about $3.2 billion invested in Paulson & Co. at the start of this year, according to Bloomberg calculations, excluding assets belonging to his family foundation. That’s about 40% less than the amount he had invested in 2020 when he converted his hedge fund firm to a family office.

Still, Paulson is carrying some momentum into this year, with his funds amassing more than $600 million in gains since Jan. 1.

Much of that came from gold stocks, according to analysis of public filings.

Paulson, 68, owns about 40% of gold miner Perpetua Resources Corp., whose shares have jumped 104% in Toronto this year as the price of the metal rallied to record highs. It’s among seven of his largest positions to record double-digit gains in 2024.

Paulson rose to fame almost two decades ago, when his bet against the US housing market earned him and his investors $20 billion after subprime mortgage bonds collapsed and ignited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

In 2010, he started a fund that invested in mining companies and bullion-related derivatives, arguing that dovish central bank policies would make the metal more attractive. That bet mostly went against him as gold rose only modestly over the next decade.

Paulson turned his hedge fund firm into a family office in 2020 after assets dropped to about $9 billion the previous year from a peak of $38 billion in 2011 and he found himself managing mostly his own money.

Earlier this month, Paulson hosted a $814,600-a-head fundraiser at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, for Donald Trump, who has mentioned the investor as a possible Treasury secretary should he win the presidential election. Paulson — who Trump called a “money machine” — has said he’s never aspired to serve in government and isn’t focused on the idea.  

Paulson has a net worth of $5.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, down from $13.8 billion in 2014. 

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.