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Enbridge Profit Edges Up, But Misses View; Backs 2012 Outlook

Canadian oil and gas pipelines operator Enbridge, Inc. (ENB,ENB.TO) reported Friday a profit for the fourth quarter that edged up from last year, reflecting higher revenues. However, adjusted earnings per share fell short of analysts' expectations, while quarterly revenues topped their estimates. The company also reaffirmed its earnings guidance for the full-year 2012.

The company's board also announced in December a 15 percent increase in quarterly dividend to $0.2825 per common share, effective March 1, 2012, citing Enbridge's continued strong growth. The dividend is payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on February 15, 2012.

Enbridge said it has increased its dividend by an average of 13 percent per year over the last five years.

Meanwhile, the company said it is also commented on its focus on safety. It has been further reinforcing safety and operational integrity across all Enbridge's business units through and will continue to be the company's top priority in 2012.

The Calgary, Canada-based company reported net earnings of C$335 million or C$0.44 per share for the fourth quarter, compared to C$326 million or C$0.43 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding special items, earnings for the quarter increased to C$275 million or C$0.37 per share from C$238 million or C$0.32 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, ten analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of C$0.39 per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total revenues for the quarter surged to C$5.44 billion from C$4.14 billion in the same quarter last year, and topped four Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of C$4.41 billion.

"Moreover, we remain confident that Enbridge can achieve an average annual growth rate in adjusted earnings per share of 10% through 2015, based on conservative assumptions for mainline throughput and future growth investment," said President and CEO Patrick Daniel in a statement.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2012, the company continues to expect adjusted earnings in a range of $1.58 to $1.74 per share. Street is currently looking for full-year 2012 earnings of $1.64 per share.

ENB closed Thursday's regular trading at $39.20, up $0.39 on a volume of 1.68 million shares. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, ENB.TO closed at C$39.20, down C$0.19 on a volume of 0.54 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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