Bord Gais Eireann is showing strong growth in its gas and electricity businesses, continued development of new assets and a significant increase in its energy customer numbers. Despite the challenging domestic environment, the company performed well in 2010. Turnover grew by 12% to Eur1.51 billion, while profit before tax remained relatively stable at Eur120 million. EBIDTA increased year on year by 8% to Eur354 million before exceptional items.
Concerns during the period included the increase in international wholesale energy prices and a significant uplift in customer bad debt. By the end of 2010, Bord Gais had approximately one million customers, including 460,000 electricity customers.
The development and acquisition of significant power generation assets is a strategic priority for Bord Gais, so the commissioning of the Whitegate Power Plant in County Cork was a major landmark for the company in 2010. Whitegate is one of the most efficient electricity generation facilities in the world today. It is the company’s first major gas-fired power station and cost Eur400 million to develop.
In 2010, the company invested Eur200 million in capital projects to support the delivery of a balanced portfolio of secure, competitive and efficient energy solutions, including renewables, to customers. This brings the company’s total capital expenditure in the last five years to Eur1.97 billion.
“The 2010 performance sees the company on target to meet the objectives set in out in the five year strategic plan published in 2008,” says Rose Hynes, chairman of Bord Gais. “Bord Gais Eireann is continuing to make substantial progress with key milestones being realised such as the achievement of one million customers, continued investment in developing wind farms and alternative technologies and the commissioning of Whitegate.”
However, the issue of bad debt reached a critical level in 2010 and Bord Gais has made a provision of Eur26.4 million in its 2010 accounts.
John Mullins, chief executive of Bord Gais, comments: “Looking forward, international wholesale energy prices remain a concern and this will put increasing pressure on prices throughout 2011. Another key challenge facing the company this year is that Bord Gáis is the only regulated provider in the gas sector, and as such, faces considerable constraints in terms of its ability to compete on a level playing field. This needs to be addressed urgently.”