Drax reports 14% slump

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The Independent Online

The power generator Drax – owner of Britain's biggest coal-fired power station – has reported a 14 per cent fall in first-half profits but said it was ahead of schedule for making its turbines less polluting.

The power-station operator said pre-tax profits tumbled to £273m in the six months to 30 June compared with £317m in the previous year. However Drax said it increased profits by a fifth to £288m if one-offs are stripped out and before including the effect of derivatives trading. The figures were seen as a disappointment in the City and the shares finished down 38p at 637.5p (a drop of 5.6 per cent) despite the company announcing plans to return £83m to shareholders by buying back its own shares.

Drax is Europe's fourth biggest carbon emitter, producing 22.7 tonnes in 2006. It plans to cut emissions by replacing more of the coal it burns with renewable plant biomass.