ESB GROUP ANNOUNCES INTERIM RESULTS FOR SIX MONTHS ENDED 30 JUNE 2020


Financial Highlights
  • Loss after Interest and Tax of €66 million
  • Operating Profit before exceptional items of €249 million
  • Capital Investment of €395 million

Dublin, Friday 18th September 2020

ESB Group today published its Interim Financial Statements for the six months ended 30 June 2020 (H1 2020). During a period of unprecedented global turmoil brought about by the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic ESB delivered resilient financial results in the first six months of 2020, including an operating profit before exceptional items of €249 million. The 15 per cent decrease of €45 million compared to the same period in 2019 is primarily due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and the associated reduction in electricity demand.  

In the first half of 2020, ESB had an exceptional, non-cash impairment charge of €177 million on its Carrington gas-fired power plant located in Manchester. The operating environment for thermal generation plants has changed significantly in recent years due to competition, regulation and decarbonisation which gave rise to ESB, in line with other utilities across Europe, impairing some of its generation assets. This charge represents about 1 per cent of ESB’s total asset base at the end of June 2020 and has resulted in a loss after interest and tax of €66 million.

ESB, operating on the island of Ireland and Great Britain, continues to:

  • invest in critical electricity infrastructure (€395 million in H12020), including renewable generation;
  • deliver reliable and safe electricity networks to 3.1 million customers; and
  • provide long-term savings to over one million Electric Ireland residential electricity and gas customers.

ESB’s 2030 Brighter Future Strategy outlines a commitment to lead the transition to reliable, affordable low-carbon energy for the benefit of its customers and the economy. This is demonstrated by:

  • Investing in low-carbon generation – in 2020 ESB commissioned two large onshore windfarms; Grousemount on the Cork / Kerry county border has the capacity to provide clean electricity to 70,000 homes while Oweninny in Co Mayo, a windfarm jointly owned with Bord na Mona, has the capacity to generate electricity to power 50,000 homes;
  • Developing the electricity network to facilitate increased renewable and other distributed energy resource connections along with increases in customer demand; and
  • Empowering customers to take more control of their energy use through smart energy services for homes and businesses.

Commenting on the results Pat Fenlon, ESB’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said: “In the context of an extremely challenging operating environment brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic, ESB delivered a satisfactory set of financial results. As an essential service provider, we remain focused on successfully ensuring the supply of electricity throughout this pandemic, while safeguarding our employees, contractors, customers and the communities in which we serve. While electricity demand in Ireland fell by about 15 per cent at the height of the lockdown restrictions brought about by the response to COVID-19, we have seen demand recover and since July is in line with 2019 comparative levels.  ESB remains well positioned to meet the challenges that lie ahead and to deliver on our strategic ambition to lead the transition to reliable, affordable low-carbon energy for the benefit of our customers”.

COVID-19

From the outset of Covid-19, ESB implemented its business continuity response plan across its business units, including its pandemic plan that was tested across the Group in 2018.

Recognising the essential role that ESB plays in society and the profound impact of the pandemic on our employees, customers and the wider community, we remain focused on three priority areas:

  1. Protecting the health and wellbeing of customers and employees while maintaining essential electricity supply by ensuring that our generating stations, wind farms, electricity networks operations, customer service and support functions continue to operate throughout this pandemic, while maintaining the health and safety of our staff and customers.
  2. Assisting customers experiencing financial difficulties by putting in place workable and affordable payment solutions, where needed.
  3. Supporting our CSR partners to deliver services in the community - Recognising the profound impact of COVID-19 on communities, ESB stepped up its community support programme, volunteering both time and financial support to help those most at risk, including Pieta’s Sunrise Appeal and a partnership with Camara Ireland to address the digital divide and provide laptops to disadvantaged schools.

Customers              

As part of its ongoing commitment to its customers,ESB's supply business - Electric Ireland - remains focused on delivering the best long-term value in the market for customers.

ESB’s networks businesses (ESB Networks and NIE Networks) continue to focus on delivering reliable and safe electricity over increasingly smart networks to 3.1 million homes, farms and businesses across the island of Ireland. As in recent years, Ireland has experienced adverse weather conditions in 2020 which has had a serious impact on the network and our customers including Storm Ellen in August, which required an enormous restoration response from ESB Networks crews to restore power to more than 190,000 homes, farms and businesses.

Contribution to the Economy

ESB invested €395 million in energy infrastructure investments to date in 2020.

ESB contributes €1.7 billion annually to the Irish economy through dividends, investments, taxes and jobs. ESB provides significant employment both directly, with approximately 8,000 employees, and indirectly through contractors and service providers. Read more here

The ESB Group Financial Statements for the six months ended 30 June 2020 can be found here – www.esb.ie/ir

Ends 

For Further Information please contact:

Kieran O'Neill, ESB Media Relations Manager, Mobile: 00-353-87-9349200 kieran.oneill@esb.ie

About ESB

ESB operates across the electricity market: from generation, through transmission and distribution to the supply of customers with an expanding presence in the British generation market. In addition, we extract further value through supplying gas, energy services and using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications. ESB is the owner of the distribution and transmission networks in the Republic of Ireland (via ESB Networks) and Northern Ireland (via Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Ltd).  In H1 2020 it had a 25.2% share of generation in the all-island market (via ESB Generation and Trading) and a 36% share of electricity supply in the all-island market (via Electric Ireland) with 1.3 million customer accounts.