TORONTO (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc’s (ENB.TO) first-quarter profit rose more than 10 percent as its base business grew, while it advanced key pipeline projects, Canada’s No. 2 pipeline operator said on Wednesday.
Enbridge, best known as the operator of the main oil export pipeline system to the United States from Canada, earned C$253 million, or 70 Canadian cents a share, up from year-earlier C$228.7 million, or 64 Canadian cents a share.
Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected an average of 66 Canadian cents a share.
Revenue rose 17.6 percent to C$4 billion from C$3.4 billion.
Enbridge, which also runs a major natural gas utility in Ontario, said that it was well into the construction phase of projects that are scheduled to be completed from 2008 to 2011.
The first phase of its Southern Access Expansion project, which adds a capacity of about 190,000 barrels of oil per day to its mainline system, has been completed and was ready to receive linefill on schedule at the end of the first quarter, the company said.
The Waupisoo Pipeline, which links the Alberta oil sands to Edmonton is expected to come into service by the end of the second quarter, if not earlier.
Adjusted operating earnings were C$238.9 million, up from C$229.4 million, helped in part by improved earnings from its energy services segment, as market conditions allowed for higher margins on its storage and transportation contracts, and increased transportation and storage volumes.
The company said that it was well positioned to achieve its previously announced full year adjusted operating earnings target of C$1.80 to C$1.90 per common share.
“We expect the completion of major projects currently under construction will add meaningfully to earnings and cash flows as they come into service between now and 2011,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Daniel said in a statement.
“This will accelerate our earnings growth to an annual average rate of 10 percent over the next four years.”
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Scott Anderson