Thursday 22 March 2018

Energia's profits fall 38pc in fight for customers

In Northern Ireland, Viridian owns Power NI.
In Northern Ireland, Viridian owns Power NI.
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Profits at Energia - the power company that's owned by Viridian - slumped 38pc to €14.6m during its last financial year as it spent heavily to acquire customers in the domestic electricty and gas market in Ireland.

Viridian is currently up for sale by its Bahraini owner, Arcapita, for around €1bn. Among the likely bidders are Bord Gais owner Centrica.

Newly-filed accounts for Viridian Energy, which trades as Energia, show that it rapidly acquired domestic customers during the 12 months to the end of March last year.

At the end of March 2014 it had just 6,300 domestic electricity customers in Ireland, but the figure jumped to 26,500 by the end of last March. At the end of its 2014 financial year, it had 500 domestic gas customers, a figure that rose to 3,300 at the end of last March. The number of dual fuel domestic users - who buy both electricity and gas from Energia - rose from 3,200 at the end of March 2014 to 26,200 last March. That gave it a total of 56,000 domestic customers, compared to 10,000 at the end of March 2014.

Energia's turnover dipped by €11m to €850.1m in its last financial year. It said that the decline reflected lower retail prices and other factors.

But despite noting that its profits had fallen because of the cost of acquiring new customers, Energia's total cost of sales actually declined in its last financial year to €801.3m from €812m a year earlier.

It also paid a €31m dividend to its parent, the Northern Ireland-based Viridian group. That compared with €41m the previous year.

In Northern Ireland, Viridian owns Power NI.

Irish Independent

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