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Methanex (MEOH) Raises Dividend & Resumes Geismar 3 Construction

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Methanex Corporation’s (MEOH - Free Report) board recently approved two important decisions related to its capital-allocation priorities— the restart of construction on the company’s Geismar 3 project and reset of the quarterly dividend. The quarterly dividend has been increased from 3.75 cents to 12.5 cents.

The company also signed an agreement with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. on key commercial terms for a strategic shipping partnership. The agreement is projected to realize strategic benefits for its Waterfront Shipping business and unlock $145 million in non-dilutive capital to boost the company’s financial position.

The total capital costs for the Geismar 3 project is now expected to be $1.25-$1.35 billion compared with the previous estimate of $1.3-$1.4 billion. The updated estimate is based on a significant reduction in the project’s execution risk profile. It expects $800-$900 million of remaining capital costs after restarting construction in Oct 2021. The company expects the project to benefit from positive methanol industry fundamentals underpinned by higher methanol demand and prices.

The company intends to fund construction with cash on hand and future cash flow (without incurring incremental debt) at methanol prices of around $275 per ton and higher. Commercial operations are expected to commence by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

Methanex’s capital allocation priorities remain unchanged to maintain business, execute profitable growth opportunities and return excess cash to shareholders. The company expects to achieve higher cash balances, lower leverage and a higher weighting on flexible vehicles for distributions, such as share repurchases along with a sustainable dividend.

Shares of Methanex have gained 66.1% in the past year compared with 33% rise of the industry.

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Methanex, in its last earnings call, stated that it is encouraged by favorable industry conditions in the first quarter followed by positive momentum heading into the second quarter. The company expects manufacturing activity to rebound and the economy to fully recover in the medium term as vaccine rollouts accelerate and as governments announce additional fiscal support measures. It is focused on preserving liquidity and financial flexibility to boost shareholders’ value in the long term.


Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Methanex currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Nucor Corporation (NUE - Free Report) , Olin Corporation (OLN - Free Report) and Cabot Corporation (CBT - Free Report) .

Nucor has a projected earnings growth rate of around 403% for the current year. The company’s shares have surged 126.1% in a year. It currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Olin has an expected earnings growth rate of around 523.7% for the current year. The company’s shares have skyrocketed 264.1% in the past year. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Cabot has an expected earnings growth rate of around 137.5% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have surged 43.6% in the past year. It currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.