Minister Ryan has come out against the privatisation of state-owned energy companies, for three reasons.
First, the minister states that these companies are investing, and implies that these investments would disappear if the companies would be privatised. That suggests that part of the current investment plans make no commercial sense. It would therefore be good to scrap those investments.
Second, the minister states that the companies paid a 320 mln euro dividend in 2009. The return on capital of ESB and BGE is a respectable 9.4%, but the return to the owner is only 4.3%. Ten year bonds are at 8.1% now, so a sale would be profitable to the Irish taxpayer.
Third, the minister states that splitting the companies would increase their cost of capital. A split is necessary because the network infrastructure is a natural monopoly that should remain in state ownership. Essentially, the minister claims that ESB and BGE use capital cross-subsidies between their activities. The value of the parts is therefore greater than the value of the total.
In sum, the minister has given three excellent reasons why the state-owned energy companies should be privatised.