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File photo of TransCanada chief executive officer Russ Girling. (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)
File photo of TransCanada chief executive officer Russ Girling. (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)

TransCanada profit climbs 34 per cent, meets analyst estimates Add to ...

TransCanada Corp. reported higher second-quarter profits on Friday that were in line with market expectations, as it benefited from higher power prices and returns on its natural gas mainline.

The pipeline and energy giant said it earned $365-million, or 52 cents per share, up from $272-million, or 39 cents per share, during the same quarter a year earlier.

Comparable earnings, which company deems a better measure of its underlying performance as it strips out one-time items, were $357-million, or 51 cents per share – bang-on with the average analyst estimate, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

A year earlier, comparable earnings were $300-million, or 43 cents per share Revenue increased to $2.01-billion, up from $1.85-billion in the second quarter of 2012.

“All three of our business segments generated strong results during the second quarter,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.

“Higher power prices in Alberta, an increase in capacity prices in New York, the return to an eight unit site at Bruce Power and a higher Canadian Mainline allowed return on equity all contributed to a significant increase in earnings when compared to the same period last year.”

Last month, TransCanada completed a process known as an open season for its Energy East pipeline proposal, which would send Western crude to Eastern refineries by converting part of its underused natural gas mainline to carry oil.

During the open season, potential customers placed bids for space on the pipeline. The company said Friday it was still reviewing the results, but that so far it was “pleased by the significant shipper interest.”

If the open season proves successful, the line could ship up to 850,000 barrels of crude per day, with an in-service date of 2017.

Meanwhile, TransCanada continues to await approval of its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S.

The company said Friday that it expected the project to be in service about two years after it receives the required Presidential Permit.

TransCanada has said the US$5.3-billion price tag for the project will increase depending on the timing of the approval. The company has spent $1.9-billion on the project so far.

The Obama administration rejected an earlier iteration of the Keystone XL project – which would have run all the way from Hardisty, Alta., to the Texas coast – last year because of environmental concerns in Nebraska.

The company responded by breaking up the project into two parts and going ahead with the southern leg between Oklahoma and the U.S. Gulf Coast, which does not require presidential approval because it doesn’t cross an international border.

Construction on the $2.3-billion Gulf Coast project is 85 per cent complete, TransCanada said.

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