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TORONTO (Reuters) - Fourth-quarter profit climbed at Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada's No. 2 pipeline operator, helped by colder weather, which increased demand at Enbridge System and Enbridge Gas Distribution, the company said on Wednesday.
Enbridge, in the midst of a multi-billion dollar expansion of its pipeline network to ship burgeoning supplies of oil sands crude to U.S. refiners, earned C$248.6 million, or 69 Canadian cents a share for the quarter, up from C$171.1 million, or 49 Canadian cents in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Enbridge also said it was increasing its dividend by 7.3 percent, to 33 Canadian cents per common share, payable on March 1.
Enbridge's adjusted operating earnings, which exclude most one-time items, rose to C$198 million, or 56 Canadian cents a share, from C$172 million, or 50 Canadian cents in the year-earlier quarter.
The operating results beat the 50 Canadian cents per share average forecast among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.
Revenue for the three months ended December 31 rose to C$3.2 billion from C$2.79 billion.
For the year, Enbridge reported net income of C$700.2 million, or C$1.95 per share, up from C$615.4 million, or C$1.79 a share in 2006.
Operating earnings for 2007 rose to C$198.6 million, or 56 Canadian per share, from C$172.4 million, or 50 Canadian cents per share.
Full-year revenue rose to C$11.92 billion from C$10.64 billion in 2006.
Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Scott Anderson