Profits from energy sales to SMEs and corporates boosted Drax’s full year earnings.
The company, which is transitioning from Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant to a biomass and gas generation and supply business, posted earnings before interest, taxes, deductions and amortisation (ebitda) of £229m, up 64%.
However, it posted a statutory pre-tax loss of £183m. Drax chief executive Will Gardiner said the loss was due to unrealised losses on derivatives contracts, accelerated depreciation of coal assets and amortisation of Opus intangible assets.
Drax won shareholder approval to acquire Opus Energy in February 2017, after announcing the deal in 2016. Its contribution to full year earnings was counted from February 2017.
While Gardiner said Drax missed its targets for biomass availability and pellet production for the year, Haven (which predominantly supplies large businesses) managed to deliver positive earnings for the first time. Opus, which supplies both small and large firms, continued to deliver strong profit.
“Alongside this good performance we have also implemented the operational steps necessary to realise further operational benefits of the acquisition, and we now source all of Opus Energy’s power and gas internally,” said Gardiner.
The firm’s energy supply business now has over 375,000 customer meters, “making it the fifth largest B2B power supplier in the UK”, said Gardiner.