Page last updated at 06:43 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 07:43 UK

British Energy hit by shutdowns

Dungeness B Power Station

The nuclear generator British Energy has blamed the shutdowns of two of its power stations for what its boss described as "disappointing" results.

Pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March came in at 538m, down 32% from the previous year.

Boiler problems at its Hartlepool and Heysham 1 stations meant they have had to be shut down.

British Energy is currently in talks with a number of power companies that are considering buying it.

UK energy firm Centrica, France's EDF, Germany's RWE and Spain's Iberdrola are all reported to be interested.

In the results statement, British Energy said that the discussions were "continuing".

The company also said that the two stations that had to be shut down are on track to be back in service later this year.

During the year, two of its other stations at Hinkley and Hunterston have had to be run at below capacity.

"They've lost two of their power stations completely and two of them are downrated so they've just not been producing as much electricity as they had hoped and so the profits are down," said Professor Ian Fells from the Royal Institute of Engineering.

British Energy operates eight nuclear power stations in the UK and also runs the Eggborough coal-fired power station in Yorkshire.

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