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Enbridge earnings fall in first quarter

Enbridge company logos on display at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 12, 2016.
Enbridge company logos on display at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 12, 2016. Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press

Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) said Thursday its earnings dropped in the first quarter but it expects profits to jump for the year after closing its multibillion-dollar deal to take over Spectra Energy in late February.

Earnings were $638 million or $0.54 a share in the three months ended March 31, sliding from $1.2 billion or $1.38 per share for the same quarter last year, as Enbridge’s liquids pipeline division saw a drop in part due to a lower exchange rate and the selling of assets.

For the full year, Enbridge said it was forecasting adjusted earnings of between $7.2 billion and $7.6 billion with the addition of Spectra. That compares to $4.7 billion last year.

The pipeline operator continues to advance about $28 billion worth of projects, though some of the largest ones still require U.S. regulatory approvals.

The Line 3 replacement pipeline, which received Canadian approval last year, is awaiting a draft environmental impact statement from Minnesota, where it has faced significant opposition. A court challenge from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs also has to be resolved before construction can begin in that province.

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The project stretches 1,660 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc.

Enbridge also closed its acquisition of a 27.6 per cent interest in the Bakken Pipeline System for US$1.5 billion, which includes the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline, during the quarter.

The company faces a shareholder resolution at its annual general meeting later Thursday calling for further disclosure on how it identifies and addresses social and environmental risk, including indigenous rights risk, when reviewing potential acquisitions.

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