Operating profit falls at ESB in 2018, but State set for €35m dividend
Operating profit at semi-State ESB fell to €455m in 2018, from €490m in 2017.
However, revenue for the period increased to €3.4bn from €3.2bn the prior year.
The increase in revenue was driven by higher revenue in Electric Ireland as a result of price increases (due to wholesale energy cost increases) and increased regulated income in ESB Networks and NIE Networks, according to results from the group.
Profit after tax and exceptional items was €60m, a swing on the €32m loss in 2017.
During the year ESB invested €1.2bn in long term electricity infrastructure.
Meanwhile, employee costs were up €26m primarily due to a voluntary severance costs in the NIE Networks and Generation and Trading businesses last year.
Despite what the group described as “challenging market conditions”, which required it to reflect a €140m exceptional non-cash impairment charge on generation assets, ESB said 2018 saw the delivery of “satisfactory” underlying financial performance as it transitions to a low carbon energy future.
Commenting on the results Pat Fenlon, ESB’s chief financial officer, said: "In continued challenging market conditions, ESB delivered a satisfactory financial performance in 2018 with profit after exceptional items, interest and tax of €60m and almost €1.2bn of energy infrastructure investments."
"ESB’s diversified businesses and solid financial position ensure it is well placed to meet the challenges that lie ahead and remain at the forefront of the energy sector in an all-islands market."
ESB declared a dividend of €35m to the State in respect of 2018.
Over the past ten years it has paid €1.4bn in dividends to the Exchequer.