DONG still in the red

State-owned energy company is still bleeding cash, just not as much

Money continues to pour out of DONG Energy, according to last year’s financial figures.

Over the past 12 months, the company lost just under a billion kroner after taxes, marking the second year in a row the company ended with a loss.

Despite the loss, the numbers are significantly better than 2012, when the company reported a net loss of four billion kroner.

“The evolution of DONG Energy's accounts for 2013 are satisfactory after a challenging 2012," DONG head Henrik Poulsen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The company’s annual report showed earnings of 15 billion kroner last year, compared to 8.6 billion in 2012. Better than expected earnings in wind energy and reduced costs were cited as some of the reasons for the turnaround.

The company also wrote down a number of bad investments and sold other units outright.

“We are on track to meet the goals of the financial plan that we put in place in February of 2013,” said Poulsen.

Poulsen expects DONG to earn 15-17 billion kroner this year.

Handshakes are golden
Some of DONG's operating expenses last year came in the form of golden handshakes handed out to sacked employees.

Former financial head Carsten Krogsgaard Thomsen received over 18 million kroner in severance pay – about three years' salary – when he was let go last October. Severance paid to another former employee, former company head Anders Eldrup, also showed up on last year’s books.

READ MORE: DONG chairman steps down

Eldrup won an arbitration case against DONG for his right to severance pay, costing the company another nine million kroner. Eldrup was also paid his 2012 salary of six million kroner.

Poulsen, who took over from Eldrup, makes just under eleven million kroner per year.

DONG has been the subject of months of controversy for weeks, ending with Parliament’s Finance Committee giving the green light for US investment bank Goldman Sachs to take a 19 percent stake in company.

The deal, which has also made the two pension funds ATP and PFA Pension part-owners, was approved by the government with the assistance of opposition parties Venstre, Konservative and Liberal Alliance, but without the support of Dansk Folkeparti or Enhedslisten.