STAFF costs at ESB continue to escalate despite widespread deflation with new figures showing the average pay and pension cost per worker is heading towards €100,000 a year.
The figures are included in a document circulating in the bond market as the company looks to raise another tranche of funding.
The company told the Irish Independent yesterday that a comprehensive cost review programme is now “ongoing’’ within ESB.
The company’s financials for the six months to June 2009 show “total employee-related costs” now come to €388.2m, which if repeated over the full year would amount to €776.5m.
This is the total cost of employees taken into the profit and loss account.
According to the last annual report the company employs 7,870 staff, which would leave pay and pension costs for each employee costing on average €98,678 per head.
The chief reason for the growing costs are crippling pension costs caused by poor stock market returns, but basic salaries are also up due to ESB paying two national pay agreements.
The document gives a full breakdown of ESB employee costs in the six months to June 2009, measured against the same period of 2008.
Salaries in the half year of 2009 totalled €259.4m, up from €246.8m, in the previous period, a rise of 5pc. The company paid out €21m in overtime, which was down on €28m in the previous year.
The company managed to cut back other benefits – travel, expenses and holiday leave – from €22m to €18.9m.
Asked to comment on the cost issues, the company provided a statement, citing a rising pension charge and higher wage costs.
“The higher total employee- related costs at June 2009 compared with the prior period reflect a higher pension charge due to the poor performance of the financial markets.
Salary costs have increased because of the impact of national wage agreement increases in early and late 2008 (2.5pc and 3.5pc respectively),” said the company.
“This has been partially offset by the impact of staff exits. A comprehensive cost review programme is ongoing within the ESB group which addresses staff and other cost areas,” it added.
The document also reveals that ESB has made a gain of €265m from the sale of several power stations to the Spanish energy giant Endesa in the six months to the end of June 2009.
This left the company posting a pre-tax profit of €525m in the period, almost twice the profitability of the same period in 2008.
The document also reveals that turnover at ESB has dropped slightly for the first half of 2009 to €1.65bn, down from €1.67bn in the previous year.
The sale of the power stations to Endesa could allow the company to pay a higher dividend than usual to the Government.
However it may come under pressure from unions to use the money to lower the pension deficit which stands at €2.6bn.