Troubled energy company brings in new blood to negotiate rescue package

AES Drax Power, the UK subsidiary of troubled US energy group AES Corporation, has appointed the former vice-president and European legal head of Dynegy Yehuda Cohen as its general counsel.

Cohen, Drax’s first UK-based lawyer, will focus on the company’s ongoing battle to stay afloat. The company, which owes £800m to banks and £400m to bondholders, is currently negotiating a rescue package with its creditors. Drax entered into a standstill agreement with its creditors, which is due to expire at the end of this month, in return for agreeing to look at restructuring proposals.

Drax, the owner of Europe’s largest power station, plunged into crisis last year following the collapse of energy company TXU Europe, its largest customer. TXU went into administration after the price of wholesale electricity plummeted by 40 per cent.

Cohen told The Lawyer he was looking forward to the challenge. “AES has a lot of potential. It has a lot of assets throughout Europe and the rest of the world,” he

Drax currently manages its legal function from the US but outsources all of its UK-based legal work. The company has relationships with Norton Rose, SJ Berwin and Slaugher and May, with the latter advising on the restructuring and matters relating to the TXU administration. Cohen said he was not in a position to confirm whether he will conduct a wholesale review of Drax’s external legal advisers, although he did say that it has not been ruled out.

Cohen left energy trading group Dynegy at the end of April after the energy company dissolved its four-strong Europe-based legal department. This followed the group’s decision to close its European operations in October 2002.

Cohen is due to join Drax on Thursday (29 May).