July 28, 2011 / 1:32 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Methanex profit rises as new plants boost output

* Q2 EPS $0.43 vs $0.15 in Q2 2010

* Production up 40 percent to highest since 2007

* Production gains reflect new Egypt and Alberta plants

By Allison Martell

TORONTO, July 28 (Reuters) - Methanex Corp’s MX.TO profit nearly tripled in the second quarter as production of methanol rose almost 40 percent to its highest since 2007.

Net income rose $40.5 million, or 43 cents a share, in the second quarter, from $14.8 million, or 15 cents, in the second quarter of 2010.

Revenue rose to $622.8 million from $448.5 million, thanks to the production increase and firm pricing.

“The methanol pricing environment has stayed firm, supported by healthy global demand, and the outlook is excellent with methanol demand growth expected to be strong and limited new capacity added to the industry over the next few years,” said Chief Executive Bruce Aitken in a release.

The Vancouver-based methanol producer said late Wednesday that production gains reflected this year’s opening of plants in Egypt and Medicine Hat, Alberta. The Egyptian facility started commercial operations in March, while the Medicine Hat plant began production in April.

Total production climbed to 1.05 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2011 from 765 thousand tonnes in the second quarter of 2010.

But facilities in Chile are continuing to operate well below capacity due to restricted natural gas supplies from Argentina. The company said that is investing in natural gas exploration and development in southern Chile.

Reporting by Allison Martell

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