Intuition Publishing earns Dermot Desmond a €27.5m windfall

Dermot Desmond received a €27.5 million cash windfall last year from Intuition Publishing, his Dublin-headquartered e-learning company. It brings to about €42.5 million the amount of cash he has received from the business in dividends and loans over the last two years.

Accounts recently filed for Intuition, which sells web-based training software to companies such as banks, show it paid Mr Desmond a dividend of €15 million in 2020 and the same in 2019. It also paid out more than €12.5 million in cash by way of a loan last year to KnowHow Holdings, the Isle of Man company controlled by Mr Desmond that is also Intuition’s parent.

The accounts also suggest that Intuition, which has offices in Dublin, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and the US, paid rent of about €537,000 to Foundation Quay Icav, a tax-efficient investment vehicle owned by Mr Desmond.

Foundation is chaired by Mr Desmond’s close associate, John Bateson, who is managing director of the businessman’s International Investment & Underwriting company.

The financial statements do not state which of Intuition’s offices are rented from Mr Desmond, but the company is registered to a building at the International Financial Services Centre, where he is known to have built property. The company employs 127 staff.

‘Pandemic preparedness plan’

The accounts for Intuition show it is highly lucrative, with net profit margins of 26 per cent, bolstering its status as a cash cow for the billionaire investor.

Intuition said the impact on its operations from Covid was “minimal”, as it posted sales in 2020 of about €27.5 million, similar to the previous year. More than half of its sales came from north America while just €200,000 of revenues were derived from Ireland.

The directors, who no longer include Mr Desmond although he remains the ultimate owner, said Intuition had a “pandemic preparedness plan” that was activated for Covid, leaving its operations “undisrupted”.

Profits before tax at the business were almost €6.7 million. The company’s directors said it focused last year on selling e-learning products linked to “fintech [financial technology] and cybersecurity”.

Even after paying out more than €27.5 million last year in cash dividends and loans to companies controlled by Mr Desmond, Intuition had a cash pile at the end of the year of close to €30 million. Retained profits were near €40 million.

Mr Desmond’s other investments include large minority stakes in two stock market companies, travel software firm Datalex and Canadian miner Mountain Province Diamonds. He also owns tech security outfit Daon.


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