Page last updated at 07:01 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 08:01 UK

British Energy sees profits fall

Nuclear power plant at Dungeness
British Energy is seeking massive investment to build new reactors

British Energy has reported a 66% drop in quarterly profits, hit by falls in production from the group's ageing nuclear power stations.

The firm made profit before tax of 101m for the three months to 29 June, compared with 296m a year ago.

British Energy said it had benefited from higher power prices but output fell because of plant closures.

The firm said that "advanced discussions" in connection with a potential offer for the firm continued.

A takeover of British Energy, which is 35%-owned by the government, is viewed as the best way of supporting the UK's plans to build a new generation of nuclear plants over the next 20 years.

We have continued to make good progress towards resolving the plant issues that have significantly impacted our performance in the year to date
Bill Coley, chief executive

However, the sale process has faltered.

France's EDF had been poised to buy British Energy for 12bn but talks stalled over the price.

Centrica has also said it is talking to an unnamed third party about taking a minority stake in British Energy if that firm bought the nuclear operator. It has also said it would consider a merger with British Energy.

Plant problems

British Energy said boiler unit closures at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 plants had hit output and would cost more than thought to repair.

The company said the timetable for bringing the reactors back online was unchanged, but costs are now estimated to be around 115m in the 2008/09 financial year, compared with a previous estimate of 50m.

"We have continued to make good progress towards resolving the plant issues that have significantly impacted our performance in the year to date," said chief executive Bill Coley.




SEE ALSO
Centrica weighs up nuclear move
04 Aug 08 |  Business
UK nuclear energy deal collapses
01 Aug 08 |  Business
Q&A: Future of British Energy
01 Aug 08 |  Business
New nuclear stations planned
11 Jul 08 |  England
British Energy hit by shutdowns
28 May 08 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific