Tag: corporate governance

Appointment of two new non-executive directors

Sunset behind biomass storage domes at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire

RNS Number : 8439P
DRAX GROUP PLC
(Symbol: DRX)

The Board of Drax Group plc (“Drax” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce the appointments of Erika Peterman and Kim Keating as Non-Executive Directors with immediate effect.

Both Erika and Kim bring extensive experience gained from more than 20 years working at global organisations, enabling the delivery of change and growth in complex, world leading businesses.

Erika Peterman

Erika is currently Senior Vice President at BASF Corporation where she leads the North American Chemical Intermediates business. Since 2001, Erika has held a number of management and senior executive roles with BASF, covering operations and manufacturing, process engineering, strategy, M&A, sales and marketing, as well as leading a range of their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Erika holds a BSc in chemical engineering and an MBA.

Kim is a senior energy sector executive with broad international experience. She joined the Cahill Group in 2013, one of Canada’s largest multi-disciplinary privately owned construction companies, and from August 2018 to September 2021 served as Chief Operating Officer.  On 1 October 2021, Kim was appointed Senior Adviser for special projects at Cahill. Prior to joining the Cahill Group, Kim held a variety of progressive leadership roles and has made significant engineering and project management contributions to key projects in the global energy sector.

Kim Keating

Kim has led a range of innovative growth initiatives including climate change and renewable energy strategies. Kim is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, holds a Batchelor of Civil Engineering degree and an MBA.

Erika will also be a member of the Audit Committee and Kim will be a member of the Remuneration Committee. In addition, both will serve as members of the Nomination Committee.

Commenting on the appointments of Erika and Kim, Philip Cox, Chair of Drax commented,

“I am delighted that Erika and Kim are joining the Board. Their experience in global businesses based in the US and Canada, will strengthen our Board and contribute to the diversity of backgrounds, insights and skills, which reflect the continued growth and international presence of Drax following the acquisition of Pinnacle and the evolution of our Group as a leading global provider of sustainable biomass and renewable energy.”

Pursuant to LR 9.6.13R the Company advises that Kim Keating is a non-executive director and serves on the HSE, and HR & Compensation Committees of TSX listed Major Drilling International. Ms Keating is also a non-executive director and serves on the Compensation Committee and Sustainability Committee of Yamana Gold Inc, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

For further information, please contact:

Brett Gladden
Group Company Secretary
+44 (0)7936 362586
[email protected]

The person responsible for release of this announcement is Brett Gladden, Group Company Secretary.

Half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2020

LaSalle BioEnergy (centre) and co-located sawmill (right), Louisiana

RNS Number : 3978U
Drax Group PLC (Symbol: DRX)

Six months ended 30 JuneH1 2020H1 2019
Key financial performance measures
Adjusted EBITDA (£ million) (1)(2)179138
Cash generated from operations (£ million)226229
Net debt (£ million) (3)792924
Interim dividend (pence per share)6.86.4
Adjusted basic earnings per share (pence) (1)10.82
Total financial performance measures
Coal obsolescence charges-224-
Operating (loss) / profit (£ million)-3234
(Loss) / profit before tax (£ million)-614
Basic (loss) / earnings per share (pence)-141

Financial highlights

  • Group Adjusted EBITDA up 30% to £179 million (H1 2019: £138 million)
    • Includes estimated £44 million impact of Covid-19, principally in Customers SME business
    • £34 million of capacity payments (H1 2019: nil) following re-establishment of the Capacity Market
    • Strong biomass performance in both Pellet Production and Generation
  • Strong cash generation and balance sheet
    • £694 million of cash and total committed facilities
    • Extended £125 million ESG CO2 emission-linked facility to 2025
    • DBRS investment grade rating
  • Sustainable and growing dividend
    • Expected full year dividend up 7.5% to 17.1 pence per share (2019: 15.9 pence per share), subject to good operational performance and impact of Covid-19 being in line with current expectations
    • Interim dividend of 6.8 pence per share (H1 2019: 6.4 pence per share) – 40% of full year
Biomass storage dome with conveyor in the foreground, Drax Power Station, North Yorkshire

Biomass storage dome with conveyor in the foreground, Drax Power Station, North Yorkshire [Click to view/download]

Operational highlights

  • Biomass self-supply – 9% reduction in cost, 15% increase in production and improved quality vs. H1 2019
  • Generation – 11% of UK’s renewable electricity, strong operational performance and system support services
  • Customers – lower demand and an increase in bad debt provisions, principally in SME business

Progressing plans to create a long-term future for sustainable biomass

  • Targeting five million tonnes of self-supply at £50/MWh(4) by 2027 from expanded sources of sustainable biomass
    • Plan for $64 million ($35/t, £13/MWh(4)) annual savings on 1.85Mt by 2022 vs. 2018 base
    • Investment in new satellite plants in US Gulf – targeting 20% reduction in pellet cost versus current cost
  • BECCS(5) – developing proven and emerging technology options for large-scale negative emissions
  • End of coal operations – further reduction in CO2 emissions and lower cost operating model for biomass

Outlook

  • Full year Adjusted EBITDA, inclusive of c.£60 million estimated impact of Covid-19, in line with market consensus
  • Evaluating attractive investment options for biomass growth: cost reduction and capacity expansion
  • Strong contracted power sales (2020–2022) 34TWh at £51.4/MWh and high proportion of non-commodity revenues

Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group said:

“With these robust half-year results, Drax is delivering for shareholders with an increased dividend while continuing to support our employees, communities and customers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner in the control room at Drax Power Station [Click to view/download]

“As well as generating the flexible, reliable and renewable electricity the UK economy needs, we’re delivering against our strategy to reduce the costs of our sustainable biomass and we’re continuing to make progress pioneering world-leading bioenergy with carbon capture technologies, known as BECCS, to deliver negative emissions and help the UK meet its 2050 net zero carbon target.

“National Grid stated this week that the UK can’t reach net zero by 2050 without negative emissions from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. BECCS delivers for the environment and also provides an opportunity to create jobs and clean economic growth in the North and around the country.”

Operational review

Pellet Production – capacity expansion, improved quality and reduced cost

  • Adjusted EBITDA up 213% to £25 million (H1 2019: £8 million)
    • Pellet production up 15% to 0.75Mt (H1 2019: 0.65Mt) – impact of adverse weather in H1 2019
    • Cost of production down nine per cent to $154/t(6) (H1 2019: $170/t(6))
    • Reduction in fines (larger particle-sized dust) in each cargo
  • Cost reduction plan – targeting $64 million ($35/t, £13/MWh(4)) annual savings on 1.85Mt by 2022 vs. 2018 base
    • Expect to deliver $27 million of annual savings by end of 2020 – a saving of $18/t vs. 2018
    • Greater use of low-cost fibre, LaSalle (improved rail infrastructure, woodyard and sawmill co-location) and relocation of HQ from Atlanta to Monroe
    • Savings from projects to be delivered in 2020-2022
    • 35Mt capacity expansion (LaSalle, Morehouse and Amite), increased use of low-cost fibre, improved logistics and other operational enhancements
  • $40 million investment in three 40kt satellite plants in US Gulf – commissioning from 2021, potential for up to 0.5Mt
    • Use of Drax infrastructure and sawmill residues – targeting 20% reduction in pellet cost versus current cost
Power lines and pylon above Cruachan Power Station, viewed from Ben Cruachan above

Power lines and pylon above Cruachan Power Station, viewed from Ben Cruachan above [Click to view/download]

Power Generation – flexible, low-carbon and renewable generation

  • Adjusted EBITDA up 45% to £214 million (H1 2019: £148 million)
    • Limited impact from Covid-19 – strong contracted position provided protection from lower demand, reduction in ROC(7) prices offset by increased system support services
    • £34 million of Capacity Market income (H1 2019: nil; £36 million in relation to H1 2019 subsequently recognised in H2 2019 following re-establishment of the Capacity Market)
    • £54 million of Adjusted EBITDA from hydro and gas generation assets (H1 2019: £36 million)
    • System support (Balancing Market, ancillary services and portfolio optimisation) up 8% to £66 million (H1 2019: £61 million)
    • Good commercial availability across the portfolio – 91% (H1 2019: 87%)
  • Covid-19 – business continuity plan in place to ensure safe and uninterrupted operations
  • Biomass generation up 16% to 7.4TWh (H1 2019: 6.4TWh)
    • Strong supply chain (impact of adverse weather in H1 2019) and record CfD availability (Q2 2020 – 99.5%)
  • Pumped storage / hydro – excellent operational and system support performance
  • Gas – excellent operational and system support performance, Damhead Creek planned outage underway
  • Coal – 10% of output in H1 2020 – utilisation of coal stock before end of commercial generation (March 2021)

Customers – managing the impact of Covid-19 on SME business

  • Adjusted EBITDA loss of £37 million (H1 2019: £9 million profit) inclusive of estimated £44 million impact of Covid-19 – reduced demand, MtM loss on pre-purchased power and increase in bad debt, principally in SME business
  • Covid-19 – implemented work from home procedures to allow safe and continuous operations and customer support
  • Good performance in Industrial and Commercial market – new contracts with large water companies providing five-year revenue visibility, while supporting the Group’s flexible, renewable and low-carbon proposition
  • Monitoring and optimisation of portfolio to ensure alignment with strategy

Other financial information

  • Total financial performance measures reflects £108 million MtM gain on derivative contracts, £224 million coal obsolescence charges and £10 million impact (£6 million adjusted impact) from UK Government’s reversal of previously announced corporation tax rate reduction resulting in revaluation of deferred tax asset and increased current tax charge
    • Additional c.£25–£35 million for coal closure costs expected to be reported as exceptional item in H2 2020 when coal consultation process is further advanced
  • Capital investment – continuing to invest in biomass strategy, some delay in investment due to Covid-19
    • H1 2020: £78 million (H1 2019: £60 million)
    • Full year expected investment £190–£210 million (was £230–£250 million), includes 0.35Mt expansion of existing pellet plants and $20 million initial investment in satellite plants ($40 million in total)
  • Net debt of £792 million, including cash and cash equivalents of £482 million (31 December 2019: £404 million)
    • Remain on track for around 2.0x net debt to Adjusted EBITDA by end of 2020

View complete half year report

View analyst presentation

Listen to webcast

View/download main image. Caption: LaSalle BioEnergy (centre) and co-located sawmill (right), Louisiana


In a crisis people come first

This crisis will be remembered for many things. Many are not positive, but some are inspiring. Around the world we’ve seen tremendous acts of kindness and witnessed remarkable resilience from people continuing to live, work and to support one another. The actions we are all taking as individuals, businesses and communities will not only help us get through this crisis, they will shape how we emerge from it.

At Drax we are proud of the ongoing role we’re playing in supporting the UK and its essential services, continuing to generate and supply the electricity needed to keep people healthy and the economy running.

It is what we have always done, and it is what we will continue to do.

This is possible because our people have continued to carry out their important work in these uncertain times safely and responsibly. My leadership team in the UK and US must continue to support them, and we must also support the communities they are a part of.

Employees Drax Power Station show their support and appreciation for the heroic efforts of those within the NHS by turning one of its cooling towers blue at 8pm each Thursday

Employees Drax Power Station show their support and appreciation for the heroic efforts of those within the NHS by turning one of its cooling towers blue at 8pm each Thursday

Our communities are at the core of what we do and who we are. They support our business globally and enable us to supply energy to the country. We have a responsibility to do what we can to help them through this crisis.

To do this we have put together a Covid-19 support package totalling more than three quarters of a million pounds that goes beyond just financing to make a positive impact. I’d like to highlight a few of these.

Supporting communities in Great Britain and the US

The Robinson family collect their laptop at Selby Community Primary School

The closures of schools and the need to turn homes into classrooms has been one of the biggest changes for many families. With children now depending on technology and the internet for schooling, there’s a very real chance those without access may fall behind, with a long term negative impact on their education.

We want to ensure no child is left out. So, we have donated £250,000 to buy 853 new laptops, each with three months of pre-paid internet access, and delivered them to schools and colleges local to our sites across the UK.

This has been implemented by Drax, working closely with headteachers. As one of our local heads Ian Clennan told us: “Schools don’t just provide education – they’re a whole support system. Having computers and internet access means pupils can keep in touch with their teachers and classmates more easily too – which is also incredibly important at the moment.”

In the US, we’re donating $30,000 to support hardship funds for the communities where we operate. Our colleagues in Louisiana are playing an active role in the community, and in Amite County, Mississippi, they have helped provide PPE to first responders as well as supporting charities for the families worse affected.

Helping businesses, starting with the most vulnerable

As an energy supplier to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), we must act with compassion and be ready to help those who are most economically exposed to the crisis. To do this, we are launching a number of initiatives to support businesses, starting with some of the most vulnerable.

It’s clear that care homes require extra support at this time. We are offering energy bill relief for more than 170 small care homes situated near our UK operations for the next two months, allowing them to divert funds to their other priorities such as PPE, food or carer accommodation.

But it is also important we understand how difficult a period this is for small businesses of all kinds. Many of our customers are facing financial pressure that was impossible to forecast. To help relieve this, we have agreed deferred payment plans with some of our customers who are unable to pay in full. We have also extended current energy prices for three months for 4,000 customers of Opus Energy who have not been able to secure a new contract during this period.

The impact of this crisis will be long term, so we made a significant, two-year charitable donation to Business Debtline. A dedicated phoneline and webpage will be provided to our small businesses customers, offering free debt advice and helping them to recover for the future.

An engineer looks up at flue gas desulphurisation unit (FGD) at Drax Power Station. The massive pipe would transport flue gas from the Drax boilers to the carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant for CO<sub>2</sub> removal of between 90-95%.

An engineer looks up at flue gas desulphurisation unit (FGD) at Drax Power Station. The massive pipe would transport flue gas from the Drax boilers to the carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant for CO2 removal of between 90-95%.

Change for the future recovery

While there is still uncertainty around how the UK, the US and the world will emerge from the pandemic it is the responsibility of the whole energy industry to show compassion for its customers and to take the actions needed to soften the economic blow that Covid-19 is having across the globe.

The disruption to normal life caused by the pandemic has changed how the country uses electricity overnight. In the coming weeks we will be publishing a more in-depth view from Electric Insights showing exactly what effect this has had and what it might reveal for the future of energy.

No matter what that future holds, however, we will remain committed to enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. This will mean not only supporting our people, our communities and our countries through the coronavirus crisis, but striving for a bright and optimistic future beyond it. A future where people’s immediate health, safety and economic wellbeing are prioritised alongside solutions to another crisis – that of climate change.

Annual General Meeting arrangements in response to COVID19

Sunset Cityscape of Northampton
RNS Number : 6996J
Drax Group PLC
(“Drax” or the “Company”; Symbol:DRX)
On Wednesday 18 March 2020, Drax posted the notice (‘Notice’) of its annual general meeting (‘AGM’) to be held at 11:30am on Wednesday 22 April 2020 at Grocer’s Hall, Princes Street, London, EC2R 8AD (‘Grocer’s Hall’).

On Monday 23 March 2020, the UK Government announced mandatory measures concerning social distancing to reduce the transmission risks of Covid19. These measures require people to stay at home other than for limited purposes and stop all gatherings of more than two people in public. As a result, it is now prohibited for the Company to hold its AGM in the normal way.

Revised Arrangements

The Company has been advised by Grocer’s Hall that the venue is presently closed. Given the prevailing restrictions, the Company has decided to make alternative arrangements in order to ensure the AGM can lawfully be held to consider the business as set out in the Notice.

Arrangements have been made by the Company to hold the AGM at an alternative venue and to ensure that the required quorum will attend the meeting, whilst also complying with the UK Government’s mandatory measures.  The new venue for the AGM will be 8-10, The Lakes, Northampton, NN4 7YD.

Voting Details

Shareholders are encouraged to submit their votes in respect of the business to be conducted at the AGM.

As physical attendance at the AGM is prohibited, holders of ordinary shares who wish to register their votes on the resolutions to be put to the AGM should do so by completing and signing the proxy form that accompanied the 2020 AGM Notice (or appoint a proxy electronically if their shares are held in CREST) in accordance with the instructions printed on the proxy form. Please ensure that your proxy form appoints the chair of the meeting as proxy, since no other proxies will be allowed to attend the meeting in person.

As an alternative to completing the hard-copy Proxy Form, you can appoint a proxy electronically by visiting www.sharevote.co.uk. You will need your Voting ID, Task ID and Shareholder Reference Number (this is the series of numbers printed on your Proxy Form). Alternatively, if you have already registered with Company’s registrar’s online portfolio service, Shareview, you can submit your Proxy Form at www.shareview.co.uk using your usual user ID and password. Full instructions are given on both websites. As mentioned above, please ensure that your proxy form appoints the chair of the meeting as proxy, since no other proxies will be allowed to attend the meeting in person.

Please return your forms as soon as possible and in any event prior to 11:30am on Monday 20 April 2020, (being not less than 48 hours before the time of the meeting).

For Share Incentive Plan (SIP) participants, a Form of Direction should be sent to the Trustee, Equiniti Share Plan Trustees Limited, at Aspect House, Spencer Road, Lancing, West Sussex BN99 6DA to arrive by no later than 11:30am on Friday 17 April 2020.

If you do not have a proxy form or a Form of Direction and believe that you should have one, or if you require additional forms or have any additional queries on voting, please contact our registrar using the details set out below:

Equiniti Limited, (‘Equiniti’) Proxy Department, Aspect House, Spencer Road, Lancing, West Sussex BN99 6DA.

Enquiries can also be made to Equiniti using their telephone helpline service on 0371 384 2030 from within the UK or +44 121 415 7047 from outside the UK. Lines are open from 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday – excluding public holidays in England and Wales.

The Board believes the actions being taken in these exceptional circumstances are necessary in order to comply with the measures introduced to safeguard the wellbeing and health of everyone, including our shareholders, employees and members of the wider community, which has to be our first priority.

Shareholder Engagement

As outlined in our annual report we continually undertake engagement with Company stakeholders through various means. We are sorry that we cannot meet at the AGM, which routinely is one such important aspect of enabling discussions with shareholders. If shareholders have any questions about Drax Group plc, please contact us using the details which we maintain on our website via the link https://www.drax.com/northamerica/investors/investor-contacts/.

The details contained within this announcement have been mailed to shareholders and a copy is also available on the AGM and General Meeting section of our website https://www.drax.com/northamerica/investors/results-reports-agm/

Ends

Enquiries:

Group Company Secretary: Brett Gladden
[email protected]
+44 (0)7936 362586

Directorate Change

Biomass wood pellet storage dome, Drax Power Station

RNS: 1329J
Drax Group plc

(“Drax” or the “Company”; Symbol:DRX)

Drax Group plc (the “Company”) is today announcing that Andy Koss, Chief Executive, Generation, Drax Group, resigned as a Director of the Company on 7 April 2020 and his service agreement with Drax Power Limited will terminate by reason of redundancy on 30 June 2020. His departure is part of the transition of a new executive management structure for the Generation business of the Company. Mr Koss will not seek re-election as an executive director of the Company at the forthcoming AGM being held on 22 April 2020.

Andy Koss

Andy Koss [Click to view/download]

In accordance with section 430(2B) of the Companies Act 2006, details of payments made to and receivable by Mr Koss after he ceases to be a director will shortly be available on the Drax website. All payments made to and receivable by Mr Koss are consistent with the Company’s Directors’ Remuneration Policy, and full details will be disclosed in the Remuneration Report within the Company’s Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020.

Philip Cox

Philip Cox [Click to view/download]

Philip Cox, Chair, commented:

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Andy for his 15 years’ service at Drax, during which time he has made a major contribution to the transformation of Drax into a leading generator and supplier of renewable energy. We wish Andy the very best for the future.”

For further information, please contact:

Brett Gladden, Company Secretary
+44 (0)7936 362586
[email protected]

Mailing of the Annual Report and Accounts 2019, Annual General Meeting and key dates relating to the proposed final dividend

Red British post box set against a hedgerow

RNS: 7279G
Drax Group plc

(“Drax” or the “Company”; Symbol:DRX)

Mailing of the Annual Report and Accounts 2019 and ancillary documents to shareholders

The following documents have been mailed to the registered shareholders of Drax Group plc:

  • Annual Report and Accounts 2019;
  • Notice of the 2020 Annual General Meeting; and
  • Form of Proxy for the 2020 Annual General Meeting.

In accordance with Listing Rule 9.6.1 a copy of each of these documents will shortly be available for viewing on the National Storage Mechanism.

The Annual Report and Accounts 2019 and the Notice of the 2020 Annual General Meeting will also shortly be available as follows:

  • for viewing on the Company’s website, www.drax.com/northamerica; and/or
  • by writing to the Company Secretary at the Registered Office; Drax Power Station, Selby, North Yorkshire YO8 8PH.

Annual General Meeting

The Company is to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at 11.30am on Wednesday 22 April 2020, at Grocers’ Hall, Princes Street, London EC2R 8AD.

We are monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 on the arrangements for the AGM. We expect to hold our AGM at the venue stated above and are encouraging all shareholders to vote in advance of the meetings using the proxy facilities set out in the Notice of Meeting. We will update shareholders in the event that alternative arrangements prove to be necessary.


Key dates relating to the proposed final dividend

Detailed below are the key dates regarding the proposed final dividend:

  • 23 April 2020 – ordinary shares marked ex-dividend.
  • 24 April 2020 – record date for entitlement to the dividend.
  • 15 May 2020 – payment date for the dividend.

The proposed rate of the final dividend is 9.5 pence per share.

Brett Gladden
Company Secretary