Dermot Desmond’s e-learning company racks up €6m profits

Intuition said it boosted profitability by selling more higher-margin products

Intuition Publishing, Dermot Desmond's e-learning company, grew its pretax profits last year by more than 15 per cent to over €6 million.

The company, which sells web-based training tools to banks and other institutions, has clocked up accumulated profits of almost €25 million and is sitting on a cash pile of €23.8 million, according to recently filed accounts.

Despite a slight drop in revenues to €26.3 million, Intuition said it boosted its profitability by focusing on selling more higher-margin products to its clients, as opposed to lower-margin service contracts.

It said its financial performance was damaged, however, by the strength of the euro versus the dollar and sterling.

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Mr Desmond is the chairman of Intuition, while its chief executive is David Harrison, who is a nominee of Mr Desmond's on the board of Independent News & Media, where the billionaire is the second-largest shareholder.

Although it is headquartered in Dublin, a little more than 1 per cent of its revenues are derived from Ireland. Almost half of its business originates in the US and Canada, with a further third from Europe and the rest in Asia.

The company has 11 other locations, including San Francisco, Dallas, London, Paris and Hong Kong. The accounts say it opened two new sales offices during the year, and that further expansion is planned.

New markets

“The group will continue to invest and plans to grow the scale and depth of its offering into new and existing markets,” said the directors.

According to its accounts Intuition has also been funding another company, where Mr Desmond is an investor, called Onscreen Interactive. This company, not registered in Ireland, borrowed €1.9 million from Intuition last year and owed it more than €4.3 million at the end of the year.

Mr Desmond originally invested in Intuition in the 1980s and was a founding director. He now has full control of the business via his Isle of Man-registered Courtland Enterprises vehicle.

Intuition was founded to develop e-learning modules for the financial services industry, but now provides course materials for industries such as life sciences and the oil and gas sector. It has more than 150 staff, and has invested heavily in mobile phone-based training tools in recent years.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

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