City & Corporate: Power station firm Drax puts Tulchan on IPObrief

Drax Power, operator of Europe's largest coal-fired power station, has drafted in Tulchan Communications for a £1.5bn flotation.

The hire has resulted in Drax parting company with its retained agency of two years, Buchanan Communications. Buchanan director Mark Edwards said the agency's Leeds office had handled regional PR for Drax, which is located near Selby in Yorkshire.

'We were asked if we wanted to continue our regional remit for Drax and we declined,' Edwards said.

However, the pitch for the IPO is thought to have surprised Buchanan, which had hoped to handle the listing.

Drax's former owner, US group AES, handed control of the group to its creditors in 2003 - low power prices and the bankruptcy of its largest customer, energy firm TXU Europe, had worsened Drax's fortunes.

Creditors rejected a takeover offer from International Power, and rising electricity prices subsequently helped the company move back into profit.

A flotation could value Drax at £1.5bn, including £908m debt, and might enable it to make acquisitions.

This month Drax appointed InterGen vice-president Dorothy Thompson to replace Gerald Wingrove as chief executive.

Drax head of external affairs Melanie Wedgbury was unavailable for comment.

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