Dermot Desmond’s Intuition Publishing to expand

Move comes after web-based educational tools development firm makes profits of €5m

Intuition Publishing, an e-learning business owned by Dermot Desmond, plans to expand into new markets after making profits of €5 million last year.

The group managed to maintain its profitability despite sales dropping 6 per cent to €24.8 million. Although Intuition is a relatively small part of Mr Desmond’s portfolio, its 25 per cent net margin makes it one of the most profitable companies in his business empire.

Intuition has no bank loans, according to recently filed accounts. The company, which develops web-based educational tools for companies such as banks and healthcare providers, grew its cash from €24 million to €30.6 million.

Loan repayment

Its cash was boosted by the repayment of a loan of €4.3 million by

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Onscreen Interactive

, another company linked to Mr Desmond. The business is chaired by Mr Desmond, and

David Harrison

, the financier’s nominee to the board of Independent News and Media, is the chief executive. It employed an average of 138 staff last year, down from 152.

According to a directors’ note with the accounts signed by Mr Desmond and Mr Harrison, the company has continued to focus on more profitable growth by selling products, instead of less lucrative service contracts. The company “plans to grow the scale and depth of its offering into new and existing markets”, say the directors.

US and Canada

Intuition, which is headquartered in Dublin, has offices in 10 other locations, including Australia, New York, Abu Dhabi and Singapore. About half its revenue derives from the US and Canada, with the remainder split between continental Europe, the UK and Asia. Ireland produces less than 2 per cent of revenue.

Mr Desmond initially invested in the business in the 1980s, and controls it via his Isle of Man-registered Courtland Enterprises. Last year Mr Desmond sued Paul Siegel, a US investor whose Globecon company is a rival of Intuition. Their row was over an allegedly defamatory website about the Irish financier, entitled meetdermotdesmond.com, which Mr Siegel admitted he had created. The now defunct site made a number of bizarre personal attacks about Mr Desmond, although the case appears to have been settled.

The antipathy between the men has its roots in a US lawsuit, dismissed over a decade ago, in which Mr Siegel attempted to sue Intuition over alleged intellectual property violations, denied by Mr Desmond’s company.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column