CALGARY – Shares of Enbridge Inc. popped higher in early trading after the company announced plans to raise its dividend, issue shares and sell off at least $3 billion in assets next year.
The stock was up $2.72 or about six per cent at $48.47 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.
In a strategic update after markets closed Wednesday, the Calgary-based pipeline company said it has identified $10 billion of what it describes as non-core assets.
The company also announced Wednesday a private placement of $1.5 billion in common shares and plans to issue an additional $4 billion of hybrid securities through the end of 2018.
The moves follow Enbridge’s takeover of U.S. -based Spectra Energy earlier this year.
“With the Spectra Energy assets now in the fold, we will focus our attention on what we do best and the value proposition that has served shareholders well over the years,” Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco said in a statement.
“We will rationalize our asset mix to a pure regulated pipeline and utility business model, which emphasizes low risk businesses and strong growth in our three crown jewel businesses: liquids pipelines and terminals, natural gas transmission and storage and natural gas utilities.”
Enbridge (TSX:ENB) said it will pay out a quarterly dividend of 67.1 cents per common share, payable on March 1, 2018. The dividend represents a 10 per cent increase from the previously quarterly rate.
The company also said it expects to continue to grow its annual dividend by 10 per cent through 2020.
The company has an extensive network of oil and natural gas pipelines that ship about 65 per cent of Canadian crude oil exports bound for the U.S.