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Methanex reports higher fourth-quarter profit

Bruce Aitken, president and CEO of Methanex.

CHUCK STOODY/Chuck Stoody/The Canadian Press

Methanex Corp. is reporting fourth quarter profit of $27.9-million or 30 cents per diluted share.

That compared with profit before unusual item of $10.6-million or 11 cents per diluted share for the third quarter of 2010.

For the year ended Dec. 31, the Vancouver-based company said it had a profit of $101.7-million or $1.09 per share on a diluted basis.

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Methanex said in a statement released late Wednesday that net income for the third quarter of 2010 and year ended Dec. 31, 2010 includes an after-tax gain of $22.2-million related to the sale of the company's terminal facilities in Kitimat, B.C.

Bruce Aitken, president and CEO of Methanex, says the company improved cash flow and earnings is due to an increase in methanol prices during the fourth quarter.

Mr. Aitken says the company is disappointed with the lower than expected production in 2010 and their earnings potential is substantially improved when they're able to operate their plants at higher rates.

"In this regard, I am delighted to report that the Egypt Project produced first methanol last week and that the restart of our plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta is on track for early in the second quarter of 2011. With the addition of these two production sites, we are well positioned to increase our production and earnings capability this year," Mr. Aitken said in the statement.

Methanex's plant in Egypt is expected to produce 1.3 million tonnes of methanol per year.

Methanex, the world's largest supplier of methanol, also expects to employ about 85 people at its plant in Medicine Hat when it restarts production in the spring.

The Medicine Hat facility is expected to produce 470,000 tonnes of methanol per year.

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Methanex is spending about $45-million to bring that plant, which has been idle since 2001, back into production.

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