Committee Reports::Report No. 03 - B&I Line plc::12 July, 1988::Appendix

Appendix IX

Text of Statement by Mr. John P. Wilson, T.D.,

Minister for Tourism and Transport

Re Financial Problems of the B&I - 22 May, 1987

The Minister for Tourism and Transport, Mr. John P. Wilson, T.D., announced to-day that the Government had decided to make available to the B&I additional equity from the Exchequer of up to £8 million in the period to end October, 1987. Of this amount, £6 million will represent an advance payment of the equity allocation for the Company proposed by the previous Government for 1988.

Mr. Wilson had a meeting with the Board of the B&I this afternoon to inform them of the Government’s decision. He conveyed to them the Government’s extreme concern and dissatisfaction that notwithstanding equity injections totalling £25 million since February, 1986, the Company was now forecasting losses for 1987 which would be more than double the 1986 loss of £6.8 million. He told them that this situation was totally unacceptable to the Government.

The Minister accepted that a major contributory factor to the Company’s serious financial situation had been the disastrous strikes which had occurred in the B&I earlier this year and said that if the Company was to survive it would be necessary for the Board, management and staff to face up to the need for drastic and radical change which would eliminate the Company’s losses. He said that he had conveyed that message to the representatives of the B&I unions when he met them last Wednesday (20 May, 1987).

The Minister directed the Board to submit to him as soon as possible a plan of action, for implementation in the Autumn. Between now and then the Government would be considering the position with a view to a long term policy decision.