Valener Inc., the company with a major stake in Gaz Métro LP, saw a boost in its second-quarter profit thanks to its expansion into Vermont and higher net income from natural gas distribution in Quebec.
Montreal-based Valener said it posted a net profit of $24-million or 64 cents per share in the second quarter of 2013, up from $21.8-million or 58 cents per share in the year-earlier period.
The company is maintaining its quarterly dividend of 25 cents.
Velener owns 29 per cent of Gaz Metro.
Two years ago, Gaz Metro beat out Canadian rival Fortis Inc. of St. John's in the bidding for Central Vermont Public Service Corp. It then merged CVPS with the Vermont utility it already owned, Green Mountain Power Corp.
"Valener's shareholders continue to benefit from the strength of Gaz Metro's energy distribution activities in Vermont. The results generated from the acquisitions over the years are testament to Gaz Metro's ability to lead strategic initiatives that create value for its Partners," Valener chairman Pierre Monahan said in a news release Monday.
Valener said low natural gas prices over the past four years have made it the most competitive energy source in Quebec; the company has several promising projects, including replacing diesel in heavy transport with liquefied natural gas as well as extending gas distribution to remote industrial regions of the province.
"Gaz Metro is relying on the economic and environmental advantages of natural gas as the foundation for its development initiatives and to promote natural gas as the fuel of choice in a number of sectors, especially in the industrial and heavy transportation markets in Quebec," said Sophie Brochu, president and chief executive officer of Gaz Metro.
Valener and Gaz Metro also have investments in wind power, with indirect interests of 24.5 per cent and 25.5 per cent, respectively, in the Seigneurie de Beupré projects developed with partner Boralex Inc.