Operating profit falls 18% at ESB to €490m

The ESB had a loss of €32m last year, with operating profits falling 18% amid “challenging market conditions”, the energy company said.

Operating profit falls 18% at ESB to €490m

By Pádraig Hoare

The ESB had a loss of €32m last year, with operating profits falling 18% amid “challenging market conditions”, the energy company said.

The company said the €32m loss after interest and taxation was mainly due to exceptional non-cash impairment charges of €276m on ESB’s generation assets, which represents about 2% of its assets.

The company said it took this “prudent” decision based on the estimated impact on projected revenues of the introduction of the new Integrated Single Electricity Market in May, as well as lower wholesale electricity margins.

It said operating profit before this exceptional item amounted to €490m in 2017, down from €597m in the previous year.

About €867m was spent on energy infrastructure and other investments in 2017, it said. A dividend of €60m was declared in 2017, with dividends paid to the State over the past 10 years amounting to €1.4bn, it said. Net debt fell to €4.3bn in 2017 from €4.5bn the previous year.

Group finance and commercial executive director Pat Fenlon said: “In 2017, ESB delivered a satisfactory performance in challenging market conditions with operating profit before exceptional charges of €490m and €867m of energy infrastructure and other investments.”

The firm said its strategy to 2030 was “leading the transition to reliable, affordable low-carbon energy for the benefit of our customers and the economy”, demonstrated by capital investment in strengthening electricity networks, wind and solar power and smart energy services for homes and businesses.

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