Competition sees SSE Airtricity profits fall 65pc

A loss of market share as a result of increased competition in the electricity market here contributed to pre-tax profits at SSE Airtricity tumbling by 65pc to €13.4m last year.

New accounts filed by SSE Airtricity Ltd show that the firm recorded the sharp drop in pre-tax profits from €38.6m to €13.4m in spite of revenues increasing by 3pc from €853m to €877m in the 12 months to the end of March last year.

At the end of the period, SSE Airtricity was the second-largest provider of electricity to domestic customers in Ireland, but it saw its customer numbers decline by 1.5pc to 309,315, with a market share of 15.22pc.

According to figures from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), SSE Airtricity then lost its second place in the domestic market to Bord Gáis Energy in the second quarter of 2016 after its market share slipped to 14.75pc, with customer numbers reducing to 300,065.

The largest provider of electricity to domestic users at the end of the first quarter of last year was Electric Ireland, which had a 58.59pc market share.

According to the directors’ report for SSE Airtricity, the firm’s post-tax profit for 2016 – excluding the impact of derivative instruments – was €36.9m compared to €41.5m in 2015.

The directors said: “This performance reflects various factors, including a tariff reduction from April 2015 and a decrease in customer numbers due to increased competition activity in the Republic of Ireland domestic market.”

Numbers employed by the firm last year decreased from 415 to 369, with staff costs decreasing marginally from €15.76m to €15.63m.

The profit for last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €2.2m and non-cash amortisation costs of €2.8m.

The firm’s shareholder funds last year totalled €84.53m, which were made up of €68.53m in accumulated profits and a capital contribution of €16m.

The firm’s cash decreased from €1.6m to €934,000.

The firm recorded a post-tax profit of €12.55m after paying corporation tax of €847,000.
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