ESB pays €60m dividend to State after surge in profit

Energy group records €205 million first-half pretax profit, up €134.5 million on last year

ESB Group said while Brexit was leading to uncertainty, the group would “continue with prudent financial management of its UK assets”.

ESB Group said while Brexit was leading to uncertainty, the group would “continue with prudent financial management of its UK assets”.

 

ESB Group has reported a huge jump in profit for the first six months of the year as it paid a €60 million dividend to the State.

The energy group, which employs more than 7,000 people in Ireland, recorded a €205 million pretax profit for the first half, compared with a €70.5 million profit for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose slightly to €1.68 billion from €1.63 billion as operating profit increased to €297 million from €287 million.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) rose to €673 million from €638 million a year earlier.

“In the face of intense competition, the results for the first six months of 2017 reflect a strong operating performance across ESB Group,” said group finance director Pat Fenlon.

“ESB continues to focus on delivering value and investing in critical long-term electricity infrastructure for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and the wider Irish economy, and this is enabled by maintaining a strong financial position,” he added.

Investment in infrastructure

The energy group, which has paid dividends totalling nearly €1.5 billion to the exchequer over the last 10 years, said it had invested €303 million in energy infrastructure and other investments during the first six months of 2017.

According to the latest figures, generation and wholesale markets operating profit declined by €24 million in the first half to €87 million as a result of lower energy margin earned in the single electricity market.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks operating profit amounted to €19 million, up €4 million due to lower operating costs. Electric Ireland, meanwhile, recorded an €1 million decline in operating profit, to €46 million, due to the impact of price reductions and lower numbers of customers.

Another segment, which covers innovation and business services, including the financial costs of the group, reported a €36 million operating loss, an improvement of €9 million compared with the same period last year.

The group said that while Brexit was leading to uncertainty, it would “continue with prudent financial management of its UK assets”.