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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Gordon Deegan

ESB pays over biggest share of semi-states’ €179m dividends

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed the bulk of the dividend has come from the ESB in 2022, at €121.6m. Photo: PA

Commercial semi-state companies have paid out aggregate dividends of €179.4m to the Exchequer so far this year.

The amount is already 18pc, or €27.7m, in excess of the €151.7m paid out by semi-state firms to the Exchequer for the 12 months of last year.

In a written Dáil reply to co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has confirmed that the bulk of the dividend has come from the ESB in 2022, at €121.6m.

The figure paid over by the ESB compares with €77.67m paid out by the power firm in 2021 and €47.6m in 2020.

On the back of the ESB’s soaring operating profits of €357m before exceptional items reported for the first six months of this year, Taoiseach Michael Martin has stated that in recent days the Government “can look forward to a much higher dividend” from the ESB.

The information provided by Mr Donohoe shows that the other main contributors of dividends this year are Ervia – which operates Bord Gáis and Irish Water – and Bord na Móna.

Mr Donohoe has confirmed that Ervia’s 2022 dividend to the Exchequer is €30.1m and this is down on dividends of previous years. In 2021, Ervia paid €38.43m and this followed payouts of €70.95m in 2020, €139.4m in 2019 and €139m in 2018.

The figures show that Bord na Móna’s 2022 dividend of €21.6m is a multiple of dividends paid out in previous years.

The dividend pay-out by Bord na Móna was made as the semi-state recorded more than tripling pre-tax profits from €27.75m to €85.1m in the 12 months to the end of March this year.

The €21.6m figure compares with €6.39m paid out in 2021. The semi-state paid out no dividends in 2020, 2019 and 2018, and paid out €2.3m in 2017.

Coillte’s dividend pay-out to date this year totals €5m and this compares with €25m for 2021, €2.3m for 2020 and €13m for 2019.

Mr Donohue confirmed that no dividend has been received from the Dublin Port Company to date this year, and the last dividend of €4.1m was paid out in 2019 .

Other semi-state port companies have this year paid out dividends and they include Shannon Foyes Port at €400,000, the Port of Waterford at €266,135 and the Port of Cork which has paid €250,000 to the State.

EirGrid has yet to pay out a dividend after paying out €4m for each of the years spanning 2017 and 2021.

In his written reply to Ms Murphy, Mr Donohoe stated: “Any dividends from semi-state bodies received by the Exchequer form part of the overall revenue collected by the State. The policies relating to the payment of such dividends are detailed in the Instrument or Legislation which covers the formation of each body.”

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