Northern & Shell, which also owns the Express Newspapers Group and OK magazine, is today expected to reveal its latest trading figures showing a full-year pre-tax profits growth from £8.9m in 2009 to £30.3m last year. Revenues are understood to be up by £103m to £525m.
The news comes almost a year after Desmond purchased Channel 5 in a deal worth £103.4m, and immediately imposed a £11m restructuring programme that resulted in nearly all of the broadcaster's senior staff leaving their posts.
Channel 5 struggled to deliver a profit under previous owner RTL, and posted a loss of €41m (£36m) in 2009. However, the broadcaster of Neighbours and CSI is understood to have added £16m to Northern & Shell's gross profits last year.
Northern & Shell finance director Robert Sanderson said: "The significant step changes we have made to the business in the last year leave us well placed to further improve our financial performance and to build on our broader media interests."
This summer, Channel 5 will bring Big Brother back to the airwaves, after commercial rival Channel 4 ended its long association with the reality TV show.
A number of different celebrities have been linked with Celebrity Big Brother, which will precede the programme's traditional variant on Channel 5.
A report today in Desmond's Daily Star newspaper claimed that Tiger Woods's alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel is being lined up to appear on the show, while Snoop Dogg and Rachel Stevens have also been linked.
Desmond is also thought to be considering the sale of his celebrity magazine empire, including OK, Star and New, along with his newspapers. Northern & Shell appointed Barclays Capital in March to explore options for a sale.