With the Bus Eireann strike ending its second day, you might be interested to take a quick look at the finances of that company. It made a profit of €455,000 in 2011, the last year for which accounts are available. It has a balance sheet with net assets of €23m. The annual report and accounts for 2011 are available here. The profit and loss account and the balance sheet are shown below. Bus Eireann says there are no recognized gains or losses other than those shown in the profit and loss account.
This is an organization about which An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said last Thursday “Bus Éireann is in a precarious financial situation with the very viability of the company under threat”. Well, if that is the case, something shocking must have happened in 2012, but we don’t yet have the accounts for 2012. Looking at the five year revenue figures for Bus Eireann, the income from tickets looks pretty stable.
But contrast the fortunes of Bus Eireann with those of another state company, RTE. In 2011, RTE made a fully recognized loss of €70m, mostly comprising a deficit of €17m and a pension scheme loss of €50m. RTE had net assets of €68.5m at the end of 2011. We do know that RTE has been failing to maintain its commercial income which RTE blames on the recession. Here is the profit and loss, statement of comprehensive income and balance sheet:
Unlike Bus Eireann, we do have an indication of RTE’s results for 2012; it is said in press reporting to have run up a deficit of “at least €60m”, we don’t know how the pension scheme performed. But a €60m deficit will practically wipe out RTE’s balance sheet and reduce equity from €68.5m to €8.5m.
When asked about the finances of RTE, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte says that it’s nothing to do with him, he says concerns about RTE’s finances “are purely matters for RTÉ management. RTÉ has a direct obligation under Section 105 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 to ensure that its revenue is at the earliest possible date at least sufficient to meet all sums properly chargeable to its current account and to make suitable provisions with respect to capital expenditure. I am satisfied that RTÉ management is fully cognisant of this obligation and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that the company continues to be in compliance with the terms of the provision.”
Contrast the Government’s stance on pay and conditions of employees at Bus Eireann versus those at RTE.