State-sponsored bodies of the Republic of Ireland

State-sponsored bodies of the Republic of Ireland

A State-Sponsored Body is the name given in the Republic of Ireland to a state-owned enterprise (a government-owned corporation), that is to say, a commercial business which is benficially owned, either completely or majority, by the Irish Government. Each state-sponsored body has a sponsor Minister who acts as shareholder, either independently, or in conjunction with the Irish Minister for Finance, who may also be a shareholder. State-sponsored bodies are often popularly called "semi-state companies", a misnomner, since they are all (mostly) fully owned by the state, in addition not all of them are actually companies. Less often they are referred to by the British term "nationalised industry".

tatutory Corporations

State-sponsored bodies may be organised as statutory corporations, meaning that they are officially non-profit and do not formally have shareholders, but are a board or other authority appointed by the sponsor Minister. Corporations of this type include:

* Córas Iompair Éireann (Irish Transport Company)
* Electricity Supply Board
* Radio Telefís Éireann (Radio and Television of Ireland)
* Voluntary Health Insurance Board (Vhi Healthcare)
* Bord Gáis Éireann (Irish Gas Board)
* Horse Racing Ireland
* Telifís na Gaeilge

Statutory corporations are governed under the particular statute that they are established under, and are not subject to the provisions of the Companies Acts, though similar requirements are often stated in the statute. The statutory corporation form of governance has fallen out of favour recently, with it being seen as less transparent and less commercially free than the limited company (see below). It is planned that VHI will become a limited company in the near future. On 21 January 2006 "The Irish Times" reported that the ESB and BGE will also move to plc status. Under the draft [ Broadcasting Bill 2006] RTÉ and Telifis na Gaeilge would have become companies limited by guarantee, however the Broadcasting Bill 2008 as initiated retains their statutory corporation status.

Companies with the Government as shareholder

Others may be organised as public limited companies or private limited companies. These are incorporated with the Companies Registration Office (Ireland) as companies, but their sole (or sometimes majority) shareholder is their sponsor minister. Some of these are exempt from the requirement to carry "limited", "teoranta", "plc", or "cpt" as part of their company name. State-sponsored bodies incorporated in this fashion are, unlike their statutory corporation peers, subject to the provisions of the Companies' Acts. They have issued share capital, a board of directors, and all the other features of the type of company they are incorporated as. Examples include:

* An Post (The Post Office).
* Bord na Mona plc (The Peat Board)
* Dublin Airport Authority plc
* Coillte Teoranta (The Irish Forestry Board Limited)
* Dublin Port Company
* EirGrid plc
* Bord na gCon (Irish Greyhound Board)

RTÉ and TG4 are proposed to become companies limited by guarantee under the Broadcasting Bill 2006.

Prominent subsidiaries of State-Sponsored Bodies

Companies which are subsidiaries of state-sponsored bodies, but which enjoy a separate identiy and legal existence, include:

Subsidiaries of Córas Iompair Éireann:
* Iarnród Éireann - Irish Rail
* Bus Éireann - Irish Bus
* Dublin Bus - Bus Átha Cliath
* Network Catering

Subsidiaries of Dublin Airport Authority:
* Aer Rianta International cpt

Subsidiaries of An Post
* An Post National Lottery Company
* Prize Bond Company

Subsidiaries of Radio Telefís Éireann:
* RTÉ Network Limited
* RTÉ Commercial Enterprises Limited

Subsidiary of Horse Racing Ireland
* Tote Ireland Limited


Like many countries with extensive state owned sectors, the Irish Government has embarked on a programme of privatisations in recent years. Privatisations have always been controversial in Ireland. In 1991 the chief executive of Greencore was forced to resign immediately prior to the company's flotation when it was discovered he was a shareholder in a company which had been purchased by Irish Sugar prior to its flotation. However it was after the drop in the Eircom share price following the company's flotation that many became opposed to future privatisations. Nevertheless, as of 2006 the latest privatisation has been that of Aer Lingus Group plc, on 2 October 2006. The Great Southern Hotels were also privatised in 2006.

List of privatised State-Sponsored Bodies

* Dairy Disposal Company - Dairies returned to private ownership
* Irish Sugar plc - listed on the Irish Stock Exchange as Greencore Group plc.
* Irish Life Assurance plc - listed on the ISE, later merged with Irish Permanent to form Irish Life and Permanent plc.
* Irish Steel - sold via trade sale to Irish Ispat.
* British and Irish Steampacket Company Limited - sold via trade sale to Irish Continental Group plc.
* Nitrigin Éireann Teoranta- merged with Irish part of Imperial Chemical Industries to become Irish Fertiliser Industries Limited (closed in 2002).
* Bord Telecom Éireann plc - listed on the ISE as Eircom plc (now Eircom Group plc).
* ACCBank plc - sold via trade sale to Rabobank Ireland.
* ICC Bank plc - sold via trade sale to Bank of Scotland (Ireland)
* Cablelink - owned by Eircom and RTÉ, sold via trade sale to NTL (and later sold on to Liberty Global Europe).
* Aer Lingus Group plc. (Irish International Airlines) - listed on the ISE. A minority government shareholding has been retained.
* Great Southern Hotels Group - privatised via trade sale. Some hotels are now rebranded CG Hotels (soon to become part of Radisson SAS) and others retain the Great Southern name for now.

ee also

* Irish Government
* Public service bodies of the Republic of Ireland

External links

* [ Tote Ireland]

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