Outages hurt Drax H1 earnings; shares down 7%

Shares of Selby, North Yorkshire-based power company Drax Group fell about 5% after it said its first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell to £102 million from £121 million due to two unplanned outages.

Nonetheless, loss before tax fell to £11 million from £104 million and interim dividend will rise to 5.6p from 4.9p.

Drax has converted three of its previously coal-fired units to biomass wood pellets and a fourth unit conversion will be complete by the end of the year.

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said: “Drax continues to be at the heart of decarbonising UK energy, securing government support to convert a fourth unit to biomass and piloting a bioenergy carbon capture and storage project, supporting the UK Government’s carbon capture and storage ambitions.

“Full year EBITDA expectations remain unchanged.

“However, first half EBITDA was lower, principally due to two specific generation outages.

“We made excellent progress with our pellet production business, driving down costs while producing at record levels and our B2B energy supply business continues to increase customer numbers.

“We also remain on track with our investment projects: the conversion of a fourth unit to biomass, and the development of our OCGT and coal-to-gas repowering options.

“We remain focused on safe and efficient operations and returns to shareholders and expect to declare a full year dividend of £56 million for 2018.”