Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Coolkeeragh ESB Ltd.

Firm's profits show plenty of energy

By John Simpson

In 2011, the Coolkeeragh ESB gas fired electricity generating plant owned by the Irish parent company ESB was the second largest source of electricity generated in Northern Ireland.

The Londonderry-based company has been owned by the ESB for over eight years and, after recording losses in the early period, has shown healthy profits for the last four years.

Under ESB ownership, the company completed a major investment programme which has been financed within the ESB Group. The investment has been reflected in the level of borrowing being carried by the company with negative equity reflected in the balance sheet value of shareholders' funds. Annual post-tax profits have been retained to reduce the scale of borrowed funds which exceeded £220m in 2008 and have reduced to nearer £130m at the end of 2011.

On present trends, the negative value of shareholders' funds, shown in each of the recent years, will become positive during 2012. ESB has been earning a return on its investment through the debt repayments although there have been no formal dividend payments.

The detail of the main operational costs is not published but after operational costs are deducted from turnover, operational profits have been healthy. A feature of the financial arrangements has been a large fall in operating profits in recent years, from a peak of £57m in 2009 down to under £19m in 2011.