ESB sells stake in power station for ‘more than €240m’
THE ESB has sold its 50pc stake in Marchwood power station in the UK to reinsurance giant Munch Re, probably for well in excess of £200m (€240m).
The ESB didn’t reveal how much it received from the disposal of its holding in the power plant, an 800 megawatt combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) operation. The other shareholder in the plant is Scottish and Southern Electricity, the owner of Airtricity. It cost about €500m to develop.
The ESB has sold the stake in the plant as it tries to generate €400m it has pledged to pay the state as a special dividend next year. It’s also planning to pay a €65m special dividend this year.
The power company also has a stake in a Spanish generating station up for sale.
But ESB unions want the payment of the huge dividend to the state blocked. They say their pension scheme has a €1.6bn deficit and that this must be addressed by the company. The ESB has insisted it has no further responsibility for the deficit having contributed nearly €600m to the scheme in a 2010 restructuring of the scheme.
ESB workers have just voted in favour of industrial action at the company.