Commercial semi-state companies last year paid out aggregate dividends of €199.4 million to the exchequer.
The €199 million paid out in 2022 is a 31.4% increase on the €151.7 million dividends paid out by the semi-state companies to the exchequer for 2021.
However, in a written Dáil reply to co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy, the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath confirmed that the €199 million pay out for 2022 falls short of the pre Covid-19 commercial semi state dividend payout of €262.15 million paid out in 2019.
The bulk of the dividend last year came from the ESB at €121.6 million and compares to €77.67 million paid out by the power firm in 2021 and €47.6 million paid out in 2020.
Much focus will be on the ESB dividend payout on the energy firm’s 2022 profits after it reported soaring operating profits of €357 million before exceptional items for the first six months of last year.
The utility company usually publishes its annual report in March of most years when it reveals its dividend.
Last year when asked to comment on the forthcoming 2023 dividend by ESB, then Taoiseach, Michael Martin said that the Government “can look forward to a much higher dividend” from the ESB.
“ESB generally announces its dividend to the shareholder on publication of its annual report, and its 2022 annual report will be published in due course,” said a spokesman for the ESB.
“Our dividend policy agreed with the shareholder reflects the level of ESB profit in a given year, and over the past decade ESB has paid over €1 billion of dividends to the Exchequer.”
The information provided by Minister McGrath shows that the other main contributors of dividends last year are the operator of Bord Gáis and Irish Water, Ervia, Bord na Mona and Coillte.
Minister McGrath has confirmed that Ervia’s 2022 dividend to the exchequer was €30.1 million and this was down on dividends of previous years.
In 2021, Ervia contributed €38.43m and this followed dividend payouts of €70.95m in 2020, €139.4m in 2019 and €139m in 2018.
The figures show that Bord na Mona’s 2022 dividend of €21.6m was a multiple of dividends paid out in previous years.
The dividend pay-out by Bord na Móna was made as the semi-state recorded a more than tripling of pre-tax profits from €27.75m to €85.1m in the 12 months to the end of March last year.
The €21.6m paid out by Bord na Móna compares to €6.39m paid out in 2021 and the semi-state paid out no dividends in 2020, 2019, 2018 and €2.3m in 2017.
Coillte’s dividend pay out last year totalled €25m and this compares to €25m for 2021, €2.3m for 2020 and €13m for 2019.
Semi-state port company Shannon Foynes Port paid out €400,000, the Port of Waterford contributed €266,135 and the Port of Cork gave the State €250,000.
Eirgrid or the Irish Aviation Authority are not listed as having paid any dividend last year.
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.