ESB chief McManus paid €530,000 as loss hits €89m
Annual report also reveals power supplier will pay €77m dividend to State for 2010
ESB chief executive Padriag McManus's pay fell dramatically but still exceeded €500,000 last year, according to the ESB's 2010 annual report.
The ESB suffered a pre-tax loss of €89.2m last year, the report adds. The loss was thanks in large part to an exceptional charge of €330m arising from a deal the company said would end the deficit in its defined benefit pension scheme. Excluding that charge, operating profits were €338.7m.
Despite suffering a multi-million loss, the ESB will pay the State a dividend of €77m for 2010. This will brings the total dividends paid to the State over the past nine years to more than €1.2bn, the company said.
This year's accounts will be pored over in detail by the Government, who must decide whether to sell the company, the State's most valuable asset, or to continue to draw down dividends.
The report on possible privatisations by economist Colm McCarthy said the ESB should be broken up and sold off. At the time, Mr McManus questioned the tone and some of the findings of the report.
Yesterday's announcement stressed the income the Government already enjoyed from its ownership of the company.
The annual results showed Mr McManus was paid almost €530,000 last year after a basic salary of €420,000 was topped up by a pension contribution, car allowance and director's fee.
The income keeps Mr McManus at the top of the public sector pay league, but is less than the €752,568 he received in 2009 because no bonuses were paid last year.
Operating income has remained relatively steady but group turnover fell sharply last year. Revenues dropped 10pc to €2.7bn in 2010. The company said revenues were hit by the high charge the company had been ordered to bill consumers for electricity by the energy regulator.
This has lead to an exodus of consumers to alternative providers, including Bord Gais, in recent years. Turnover fell by 11pc in 2009.
High staff salaries at the company have long been a source of controversy, not just for the chief executive.
According to the latest accounts, the annual average pay for the company's 7,000-plus workforce is €73,000 including an overtime bill of €33m. A spokesman for the company said ESB had recognised the need to remain competitive and was targeting a 20pc cut in payroll costs by 2015.
Management and unions have begun talks on the latest round of cost cutting, and savings were being targeted from a mix of pay cuts and job losses.
Those cuts were part of a €280m cost-saving programme. Staff costs were cut by €100m in 2010 from a mix of voluntary redundancies, natural wastage and cost management.