Irish Water drives 73% profit growth at State-owned Ervia

Ervia made capital investments of €673m in gas and water infrastructure in 2017

Ervia controls Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland and Aurora Telecom. Photograph: iStock

Ervia controls Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland and Aurora Telecom. Photograph: iStock

 

State-owned multi utility company Ervia increased its profit last year by almost 73 per cent, primarily on the back of significant gains for Irish Water due to a reduction in costs and increased revenue.

Profit before tax and exceptional items rose to €350.7 million at the State entity which controls Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland and Aurora Telecom while revenue increased 5.6 per cent to €1.48 billion, again driven by Irish Water.

The company’s accounts released on Friday are separated because, for accounting purposes, Irish Water doesn’t meet the definition of a subsidiary. When Irish Water’s figures are stripped out, meaning the numbers comprise Gas Networks Ireland and Aurora Telecom, Ervia recorded a 5 per cent reduction in profit to €141.3 million.

During the year Ervia made capital investments of €673 million in gas and water infrastructure projects. The majority of that came from Irish Water, with gas networks Ireland investing €147 million for projects including the completion of a pipeline to Scotland.

Irish Water’s managing director, Jerry Grant, noted the company’s surplus is re-invested directly in delivering critical water and wastewater infrastructure.

“Irish Water has been tasked with delivering one of the most extensive capital investment and transformational change programmes in the history of the State and this will require significant funding to deliver on our ambitious agenda.”

Mr Grant received remuneration of €245,000 last year.

“The progress we made in 2017 highlights the business’s unique opportunity to support economic and social development in Ireland,”said Mike Quinn, Ervia chief executive.

“There are challenges ahead, both in terms of transforming our water and wastewater network and on projects to decarbonise the gas network,” he added.

Mr Quinn joined Ervia in October from Bord na Móna and his total remuneration for the last three months of 2017 amounted to €52,000. His predecessor, Michael McNicholas received remuneration of €167,000 in 2017.

Ervia paid the exchequer €148 million during the year, including a special dividend of €100 million relating to the sale of the Bord Gáis Energy business. That dividend is up from €135 million in 2016.The company employed 1,702 people last year.

Net debt at the semi-state remained relatively stable in the year at €1.9 billion with Irish Water’s net debt comprising €800 million of that. Ervia’s total net debt fell by €45 million in the year.