TransCanada Hikes Dividend

TransCanada Corp. posted higher operating profit for the fourth quarter and full year of 2006, prompting the pipeline giant to raise its dividend for the seventh straight year.

In a news release Tuesday, TransCanada reported fourth-quarter profit of $269-million or 55 cents a share, down from $350-million or 72 cents a chare a year earlier. However, excluding one-time items — which included a tax gain in the latest period and asset sales in the year-earlier quarter — the company posted a profit of $257-million or 53 cents a share, up from $235-million or 48 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose to $2.09-billion from $1.77-billion, and cash flow rose to $660-million from $530-million.

The latest quarter’s share profit topped analysts’ consensus estimate of 51 cents a share.

For the full year, TransCanada earned a profit from continuing operations of $1.05-billion or $2.15 a share, down from $1.21-billion or $2.49 a share in 2005. However, excluding one-time items, the profit was $925-million, up from $839-million a year earlier. Revenue rose to $7.52-billion from $6.12-billion. Cash flow increased to $2.38-billion from $1.95-billion.

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