UNDER the current dividends system, semi-states are required to pay between 25pc and 30pc of their pre-tax profits to the Exchequer.
If the company does not make a profit, then no dividend is paid.
That 30pc figure is more of a guideline than a hard number, however, with some firms lobbying to make a lower payment. This has led to calls for a more stringent system.
In 2009, the McCarthy Report into state expenditure recommended that semi-states be forced to make higher payouts to the Government.
The report said there was "scope for increased revenue generation from dividends and that it is reasonable to expect more regular shareholder dividend payments from the Dublin Airport Authority, the Irish Aviation Authority and the national ports".