January 29, 2009 / 3:57 AM / in 9 years

Methanex posts Q4 loss, writes down inventory

* Net loss 3 cents per share

* Records $33 million writedown in inventory

* Revenue tumbled to $408.4 million from $731.1 million. (Updates with details, company quote)

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Canadian methanol producer company Methanex (MX.TO) (MEOH.O) said on Wednesday tough economic conditions and falling prices for methane gas sapped its earnings in the fourth quarter.

The company reported a net loss of $3.1 million, or 3 cents per share, after taking into account a $33 million pre-tax charge to write down inventories.

The company said it was able to record a $27 million reduction against future tax liabilities which helped to mitigate the writedowns.

Adjusting for the tax benefit and the writedown, Reuters Estimates said the company would have earned 3 cents per share, far short of the 21 cents analysts were expecting. But Reuters Estimates could not immediately confirm whether the estimates was directly comparable with the result.

“The slowdown in the global economy led to a significant decline in methanol demand in the fourth quarter,” said CEO Bruce Aitken.

“However, with the slowdown in demand, supply has also reacted quickly. Many plants, particularly in China, are either operating at lower rates or have shut down and this has provided some stability to pricing,” he said.

Revenue tumbled to $408.4 million from $731.1 million. (Reporting by Christopher Kaufman; Editing by Valerie Lee)

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