Drax chair retiring


Drax chair retiring
Power company Drax has revealed it is continuing to trade in line with expectations, while confirming the retirement of its current chairman.

In a trading update the company, which owns western Europe's biggest coal-fired power plant, said it expected to report underlying earnings of around £500 million for the year to December 31st.

The firm - which operates the Drax Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire – did, however, warn the power markets remained "volatile" and stressed achieved power prices reflected the timing of sales.

Drax also emphasised international coal prices had been at record levels for much of the second-half.

The company confirmed it had completed an £83 million share buyback programme announced in September, but revealed its intention to abandon a refinancing initiative aimed at maintaining the health of the group's balance sheet.

"Conditions in the debt markets have continued to deteriorate since the interim statement was issued and the company has therefore chosen not to proceed with a refinancing at the present time," Drax explained.

The power generator, which said it expected to recommend a dividend of 9.9p a share for 2007, also confirmed the departure of its current chairman Gordon Horsfield.

Mr Horsfield is to retire after four years with Drax and will be replaced by non-executive director Charles Berry in April.

Paying tribute to Mr Horsefield's contribution to the company, Tim Barker, a senior independent non-executive director of Drax, said: "Gordon's skills and drive were crucial in achieving the group's restructuring, refinancing and listing.

"Drax is now a very profitable and cash generative business which has delivered significant shareholder value."

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