Tuesday 18 September 2018

Billionaire business tycoon Dermot Desmond (67) started out in banking and then made his first fortune in 1994 after selling the stockbroking firm he founded, NCB, for €49m. He sank the windfall into his own private equity firm, International Investment & Underwriting (IIU), and hasn't looked back since.

One of his best-known deals was the sale of London City Airport for €1bn in 2006, having bought it for €30m in 1995.

Given that they paid so relatively little for it, he and fellow investors are thought to have shared about €950m in pure profit from what has become a legendary deal in commercial property and Irish and British business circles.

Last year he is thought to have banked a significant profit from the sale of his 25pc stake in One51 to Canadian investment firm CDPD.

The Corkman 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. He made good returns when he

took a €300,000 stake in Baltimore Technologies before selling out at the top of the market.

At Optimal Payments an initial €20m investment was turned into €180m, which was a ninefold return in just four years.

He also owns a stake in Independent News & Media, which publishes this newspaper, and travel software company Datalex. He is renowned for playing a key role in developing Dublin's IFSC in the 1980s.

There are a long list of other firms in which Desmond has invested: Jobbio, Kennady Diamonds and Mountain Province Diamonds - which is sitting on over €1bn worth of the stones, Latvian bank Rietumu, eSpatial, Intuition, Decawave, Dermot Smurfit Jr's gambling tech firm GAN, housebuilding joint venture Broadhaven Credit Partners, and a gold mining firm.

The financier, who values his privacy, controls Celtic Football Club, is a keen sports fan and is a close friend of golfer Rory McIlroy. He also owns part of the exclusive Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, and has invested about €70m in developing the Caribbean island of Canouan. There are thought to be properties in London and Geneva as well as in Ireland.

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