Dermot Desmond
Rank 2017
An eye for well-timed purchases and sales has again lifted the fortune of Desmond, 66. For the past 10 years the Corkman, a Swiss tax resident, has been investing the €1bn cash pile he built up correctly forecasting the technology, banking and housing downturns. Much has gone into distressed assets such as government and company debt and he is now investing in mainly Dublin housebuilding via his €200m joint venture, Broadhaven Credit Partners. His natural resources investments include a quarter of Mountain Province Diamonds, a €715m Toronto-quoted diamond mining company. He invested €1.5m in Dermot Smurfit Jr’s (qv) quoted Games Account Network in August, while the value of his 33% stake in Latvia’s Rietumu Banka rose to an estimated €82m last year as profits leapt 23%. However, his jointly held investment company redeveloping the Belfast shipyard where the Titanic was built, Titanic Quarter Limited, has been hit by sterling’s decline. He has a raft of other investments. These include a small stake worth more than €24m in Barchester Healthcare, a UK care home provider, and 33% of the €467m Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados with JP McManus and John Magnier (both qv).  He is developing a luxury marina in Canouan in the Grenadines where it is reputed billionaires go to get away from millionaires. Desmond, a keen sports fan,holds 35% of Celtic FC worth €32m. Through his private investment firm, IIU, run from Dublin, he has stakes in Dublin technology companies such as WholeWorldBand, an app that allows musicians to collaborate in recording, DecaWave and Datalex. Desmond has two properties in Dublin, other property in London, commercial property, racehorses, a jet and art. These assets would have risen slightly to €28m. His sons, London-based Brett, 39, who is married to singer Andrea Corr, Ross, 35, who is married to fashion designer Stephanie Smart, and Dery, 29, own the Irish Five Guys burger franchise. Brett has joined the board of Denis O’Brien’s (qv) PGA Golf de Catalunya in Girona, Spain.