Monday 20 November 2017

Sale of State assets under active consideration – Pat Rabbitte

A report on which State assets can be sold off to raise money for government is being prepared, Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte confirmed today.

The programme for government contains a commitment to save up to €2bn through the disposal of non-strategic State assets.

Last week it emerged that a minority stake in the ESB could be up for sale for €2bn to the private sector.

"The ECB, EU and IMF are looking for savings of more than €2bn," the Minister said on the Pat Kenny radio show, adding that it is “hard to ignore” companies like the ESB.

The ESB is the country's most valuable state-owned company, worth almost three times any other state-owned enterprise. As a result it tends to attract a lot of interest from mergers and acquisitions specialists interested in any trade sale of the company.

The most recent valuation of the company was done by UCD economist Colm McCarthy, who put a €4bn price tag on it. This was based on the value of its assets today, but buyers could pay a lot more or less than this depending on timing and the company's ability to increase its profits in future years.

Other observers put the value of the company nearer to €3bn due to its large debt load and pension deficit.

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