TransCanada profit falls on lower earnings from power business

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp TRP.TO, which is seeking U.S. approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, reported a 19 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit due to lower earnings from its power business and reduced contributions from some natural gas pipelines.

Russ Girling, president and CEO of TransCanada, talks to a shareholder before the company's annual general meeting in Calgary, Alberta in this April 27, 2012, file photo. REUTERS/Todd Korol/Files

Canada’s largest pipeline company said it plans to complete C$12 billion of projects over the next three years, including the $5.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline that it expects to be in service in late 2014 or early 2015.

The approval of the 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline from Alberta to Texas has been pending for more than four years.

The U.S. State Department has said that a final decision on Keystone XL was not expected before the end of March.

TransCanada, which raised its quarterly dividend by 5 percent to 46 Canadian cents per share, also plans a new way to get Canadian crude to new markets by converting one of its cross-Canada natural gas lines to Eastern Canada to transport oil.

Net income attributable to common shareholders fell to C$306 million ($304 million), or 43 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter from C$376 million, or 53 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Comparable earnings, which exclude most unusual items, fell 13 percent to C$318 million, or 45 Canadian cents per share, from C$365 million, or 52 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said the results were hurt partly due to plant outages at Bruce Power in Ontario. TransCanada is one of the partners in the nuclear power company.

Revenue rose 4 percent to C$2.09 billion.

TransCanada shares, which closed at C$48.25 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, were down slightly in early trading.

Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das, Maju Samuel