UT adjusts deficit: 'only' 8.7 million expected

| Rense Kuipers

According to the latest figures, the UT is heading for a deficit of 8.7 million euros this year, the management report through October shows. The large difference compared to the previously expected deficit of 17 million euro is mainly due to incidental results, such as higher interest and lower energy costs.

Photo by: Rikkert Harink

In the previous management report, with figures up to and including August, the UT seemed to be heading for a deficit of 17 million euros. That while a deficit of 15 million euros was budgeted. Partly because of these forecasts, the Executive Board decided last October to make substantial adjustments, with a package of heavy financial measures.

Deficit of 8.7 million euros

The latest figures show a different, more positive picture: the UT now expects to record a deficit of some 8.7 million euros for 2023. That is roughly 8 million euros better than the figures in the management report up to August. According to Finance Director Dennis van Zijl, this is largely due to incidental results that came in considerably higher. 'It is in our nature to be cautious. We estimate costs on the high side and income on the low side as the year progresses. In doing so, we are also cautious in estimating windfalls.'

According to Van Zijl, this is the reason why the figures up to and including October write down the incidental windfalls 'even more critically'. Energy costs, for instance, turned out to be relatively better than expected, a windfall of almost €4 million compared to the budget and €1.5 million compared to the August figures. 'We budgeted sharply on energy costs, because we also want to save heavily on those. But energy tariffs have - fortunately - fallen this year. In addition, we received compensation from the central government.'

Interest rate rise and VAT recovery

The rise in interest rates is also a financial windfall for the university, Van Zijl continues. 'We have a relatively large amount of money in the bank. Because of this interest rate rise, we expect €3.1 million more interest income than budgeted, which is €1.5 million better compared to August.' The UT is also consulting with the Tax Authorities on reclaiming VAT between the years 2016 and 2021, which is expected to generate 11.1 million euros; that amount is on estimate €1.1 million higher than in August.

Furthermore, UT expects a gain of €1.1 million from the cooperation agreement with the other technical universities (4TU). In addition, the Finance director notes that the support service departments were 'more cautious about hiring new people', which also means those results are more positive than previously expected.

'Incidental, not structural'

The more positive financial picture is no reason to lift the announced financial measures, warns Van Zijl. 'These are incidental results, not structural. When drawing up the budget, we did not take into account, for example, the increase in interest rates and higher VAT reclaim. In fact, I am startled by the operating result (the total result excluding incidental results, ed.), which amounts to a deficit of over €26 million, which is still in line with the 2023 budget.'

Next year - according to the frameworks of the Spring Memorandum - the UT must record an operational result of minus 7.5 million euro at most. Van Zijl does not want to further anticipate on the budget for 2024.

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