May 5, 2010 / 11:55 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 2-Enbridge Q1 adjusted profit tops forecasts

* Adj EPS C$0.86 vs forecast C$0.79

* Reiterates FY adj EPS outlook of C$2.50-C$2.70

* Shares down 0.8 pct (Adds details, updates shares. Changes dateline from Toronto)

CALGARY, Alberta, May 5 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada’s No. 2 pipeline company, reported a lower quarterly net profit on Wednesday, though earnings were higher on an adjusted basis after accounting for a one-time gain from the sale of a pipeline last year.

The company, whose pipelines carry the lion’s share of Canada’s crude exports to the United States, reported net income of C$342 million ($332.0 million), or 92 Canadian cents a share, in the first quarter, ended March 31, down from C$558 million, or C$1.53 a share, in the first quarter of 2009.

Adjusted profit, which excludes most one-time items, was C$318 million, or 86 Canadian cents a share, up from C$268 million, or 74 Canadian cents a share. That topped the average analyst forecast for 79 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company — which predicts steady growth in coming years — said the adjusted results put it on track to achieve its full year adjusted earnings outlook of between C$2.50 and C$2.70 a share.

Enbridge is poised to open its 450,000 barrel per day Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion to bring more oil sands crude to refiners in the U.S. Midwest and its Southern Lights line, which will carry ultralight crude from the Chicago region to Alberta, is set to open in July.

The company said it has opportunities to expand in four core areas: servicing oil sands projects; shipping oil from the Bakken play in Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan; adding capacity from the U.S. shale gas areas; and adding to its suite of green-power projects.

“All these growth opportunities ... allow Enbridge to achieve its target to grow (earnings per share) by 10 percent a year on average into the second half of the decade,” Chief Executive Pat Daniel said on a conference call.

Daniel also said he expected Canadian regulators to reject a request for lower tolls on its Alberta Clipper line at a November hearing.

U.S. regulators ruled in the company’s favor last month, when Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) and other Canadian oil producers asked for lower tolls, arguing that the new line was not needed.

“We’re optimistic of a similar decision on the Canadian side,” Daniel said.

Enbridge shares fell 35 Canadian cents to C$48.47 midmorning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Scott Haggett and Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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