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Enbridge Talking itself up to investors

Nov 4, 2009 1:35:00 PM MST
Enbridge boosts 2009 outlook, expects growth ''well into next decade'' (Enbridge)

CALGARY _ Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) increased its 2009 guidance and exuded confidence Wednesday that it could maintain steady growth into the next decade.

"It´s safe to say that we are on track to deliver a record growth year for Enbridge," president and CEO Pat Daniel said on a conference call with analysts.

"Our solid growth comes from a combination of a number of things, firstly new assets which we have placed into service in 2009, also improved results from our existing businesses, and our increased investment in Enbridge Energy Partners and then finally... from assets that are currently under production."

Daniel predicted the company will "grow at an average rate of 10 per cent per year well into the next decade, even when using this record year of 2009 as the base year."

The Calgary-based the pipeline and gas distribution firm reported Wednesday a third-quarter profit of $303.8 million, up from $148.4 million in the comparable period of 2008. Net earnings per share rose to 83 cents from 41 cents.

Adjusted earnings, which Enbridge says is a more accurate reflection of its profitability, rose to $152.3 million or 42 cents per common share, from $85.8 million or 24 cents.

The company said the strong quarter prompted it to raise its full-year guidance to a range of $2.30 to $2.36 in adjusted earnings per share, which would be up 20 per cent from last year.

According to Thomson Reuters the average analyst estimate had been for earnings of 38 cents per share, although at least one analyst had accurately predicted they´d be 42 cents.

For the full year, analysts had been expecting adjusted earnings in a range of $2.24 to $2.34.

On the downside, Enbridge revenues were down substantially in the third quarter from last year and missed analyst expectations.

Revenue declined to $2.63 billion from $4.37 billion, as a in commodity sales offset a gain in transportation and other services.

Four analysts who provided estimates to Thomson Reuters had, on average, called for revenue to be nearly $4 billion in the third quarter.

UBS Investment Research analyst Chad Friess said Enbridge´s future looks bright with work on two major U.S. crude pipelines set to wrap up soon.

"With the expected completion of the Alberta Clipper and Southern Lights projects in 2010, Enbridge´s capital position will continue to strengthen, building up to a $1.4 billion funding surplus in the 2009-2013 time frame," he wrote in a note to clients.

"While long-haul liquids pipeline growth may slow in the next few years, management sees significant opportunities in offshore Gulf Of Mexico, regional pipelines and renewables. In the meantime, Enbridge is comfortable with the security and flexibility provided by a strong capital position."

Shares in the company were up 62 cents to $42.57 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Wednesday.

Read more: http://www.oilweek.com/news.asp?ID=24678#ixzz0W2AD9J5j

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