Wednesday, March 13 11:30:12
The ESB has reported profits after tax of E194m for 2012 and said it invested E765m in infrastructure projects during the year.
In its annual report, published today, it said its board is recommending a dividend of E78m. This brings the total dividend to the Exchequer to almost E1 billion over the past decade.
During the year, ESB raised E1.1 billion through the issue of bonds, mainly to European investors, which it said will support its ongoing infrastructure investment programme.
It said that over E600m in finance facilities were raised to fund the construction of the Carrington power station in the UK.
Today's report also noted that two credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor's and Fitch, upgraded their rating outlook on the company from negative to stable. ''This reflects ESB's successful funding and roust financial performance, as well as Ireland's overall progress,'' the company said.
Electric Ireland, ESB's energy retail business, saw a return to profits last year while customers numbers rose by 80,000 between electricity and gas.
ESB chief executive Pat O'Doherty said that many of the company's customers are experiencing ''considerable hardship'' and it continues to work sensitively with them to help them manage their bills. He noted a 33pc reduction in disconnections over the last two years.
During the year, the company said it continued to focus on cost reduction and it said that almost 1,000 staff have left since 2010.