SHARES in Europe's biggest coal-fired power station began trading yesterday - a month after takeover talks with three potential suitors fell through.

Drax, which is based in North Yorkshire and provides enough power to meet seven per cent of the UK's electricity needs, joined the London Stock Exchange with a share price of 500p.

It valued the company at about £2bn, putting it broadly on a par with the price that a consortium led by US-based energy group Constellation was willing to pay before pulling out of talks last month. Other potential offers, including a joint proposal from International Power and Japanese partner Mitsui, were also withdrawn last month.