5. Exceptional items

  2009 2008
€'000 €'000
Exceptional items included in operating profit comprised:
Voluntary parting/early retirement programme (note A) 5,209 692
Impairment of fixed assets (note B) 3,100 8,706
Amortisation of grants related to the fixed asset impairment - (457)
Impairment of goodwill - 651
Profit on sale of immature forest (note C) (25,372) (10,141)
Grants released on sale of immature forest (note C) (1,466) -
(18,529) (549)

a . Voluntary parting / early retirement programme

During 2009 severance payments and actuarial costs relating to the past service of departing employees of €5.2m were incurred. Of this total, €4.0m relates to additional employees departing under the Alternative Options Scheme which was approved in 2008. The balance of €1.2m relates to employees departing the Coillte Panel Products division under a redundancy programme which was implemented during 2009.

b . Impairment of fixed assets

In accordance with the provisions of FRS11 — ‘Impairment of Fixed Assets and Goodwill’, the Group has reviewed the carrying value of its investment in certain forestry assets. As a consequence of the review, the Group has written down the assets to their recoverable amount by including an impairment charge of €3.1m in the Group profit and loss account. In 2008 the Group wrote down assets and related grants of SmartPly Europe Limited to their recoverable amount by including a net impairment charge (after amortising related grants) of €8.25m in the profit and loss account. An additional charge of €0.65m was also included in respect of the write off of the associated goodwill. No further impairment arose in 2009 (note 10 (vi)).

c . Profit on sale of immature forest

During the year the Group disposed of immature forests for €33.8m and realised a profit on disposal of €25.4m. The amount is disclosed within exceptional items by virtue of its materiality. The sale agreement confers rights on the purchaser to harvest timber at maturity but the Group retains the rights to the land, carbon and other assets. Capitalised grants of €1.5m relating to the immature forests disposed of were released to the Group profit and loss account in 2009. These grants are unconditional and have no residual conditions attaching to their recognition.