‘Milestone year’ for Bord Gáis as profits rise 29%

TURNOVER and profits increased at Bord Gáis in 2007 as the group expanded its presence across the island of Ireland.

Profits before tax rose 29% to €166 million while the total sales figure rose 10% to €1.2 billion over the year.

Gas sales of €763m accounted for two thirds of sales and were up by 8%.

Electricity, a developing market for the group, generated sales of €239m, up 18%, while gas transportation sales rose 8%, generating revenues of €169m, and accounted for 14% of turnover.

The remaining €44m of sales was made up from ancillary activities, the group said.

Chief executive John Mullins, who joined the company last December, described 2007 as “a milestone year” with the group achieving significant progress in its core markets.

Diversification into electricity and expansion in Northern Ireland were also significant for the group, he said.

“Most importantly we delivered natural gas safely to our customers,” he said.

In terms of new developments Mr Mullins said that starting work on the new power station at Whitegate in Cork Harbour “was an important milestone” for the group.

That move will “underpin growth” in the group’s electricity supply business, he said.

Confirming that the group was seeking a sharp hike in gas prices of up to 19% from the regulator Mr Mullins noted that international oil and gas prices have reached new peaks in the current financial year.

He warned also that the outlook for prices was negative with projections of oil gong to €200 per barrel no longer seen as unrealistic, he said.

On the future of oil supplies he said it was a “misconception” that Ireland relied heavily on Russian gas, whose security of supply is uncertain.

Less than 1% of our gas comes from Russia while Britain and Norway account for the bulk of supplies.

With the Corrib gas field due to come on stream in 2009 Mr Mullins said it would meet 60% of the country’s gas needs for at least 10 years while the supplies from Britain and Norway would be available to Ireland for several years more.

Last year the average residential consumption of gas fell by 9%, due to a hotter climate.

Better conservation and a move to energy conversation were also factors in the consumption drop, he said.


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