Thursday 20 June 2019

Dermot Desmond

Place: 9 Change: + 1

Dermot Desmond

Dermot Desmond

Worth 2018 €2.04 bn (13.33%)

Worth 2017 €1.8 bn

  • Industry Finance

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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