Thursday 14 December 2017

Billionaire businessman and financier Dermot Desmond worked in banking before setting up NCB stockbrokers in 1981. He sold out in 1994 for 49m, using the money to build his own private equity firm, International Investment & Underwriting (IIU).

Among his most high-profile deals was the sale of London City Airport for 1bn in 2006, having bought it for 30m in 1995. He and others shared in the considerable upside.

The Cork man also invested 475,000 into Denis O'Brien's Esat as it pitched for the State's second mobile licence. He later made 120m from the sale of his shares. Other excellent returns came when he took a 300,000 stake in Baltimore Technologies before selling out at the top of the market.

He showed similar timing with Optimal Payments, where an initial 20m investment was turned into 180m. He also owns biometric firm Daon, as well as stakes in Independent News & Media, which publishes this newspaper, One51 and Datalex.

He played a key role in developing the IFSC in Dublin.

The shrewd deal-maker, who guards his privacy, controls Celtic Football Club. Desmond also owns part of the exclusive Sandy Lane resort in Barbados. Meanwhile, Desmond's sons have expanded their business interests, bringing the Five Guys burger chain to Ireland, and opening trendy bar Zozimus in Dublin.

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