TransCanada Corp. reported that a one-time charge for the Mackenzie Gas Project offset its fourth quarter profits. Excluding charge, the Calgary-based company saw comparable earnings increase C$56 million from 4Q2009.

TransCanada, the largest pipeline and power company in Canada, posted net income of C$269 million, or C39 cents a share, for 4Q2010, a decline from the C$381 million, or C56 cents/share, that it posted in 4Q2009. For the year, net income totaled C$1.2 billion, or C$1.78/share, down from the C$1.4 billion, or C$2.11/share, that was made in 2009.

Net income was affected by a one-time, after-tax payment of C$127 million to the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.

Excluding that charge, comparable earnings for 4Q2010 totaled C$384 million, or C55 cents/share, compared to C$328 million, or C48 cents/share, in 4Q2009. TransCanada attributed part of that increase to the start-up of the Halton Hills power plant in September.

Meanwhile, comparable earnings for full-year 2010 were C$1.4 billion, or $1.97/share, compared to C$1.3 billion, or $2.03/share for 2009.

TransCanada also increased its dividend for the eleventh consecutive year. The company announced that its quarterly dividend would rise to C42 cents/share, a 5% increase from the C40 cents/share that was paid in the previous four quarters. The common share dividend is payable on April 29 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 31.

"TransCanada's strong comparable earnings for the fourth quarter of 2010 demonstrates the stability of our core businesses," said CEO Russ Girling. "The company continues to advance its unprecedented (US)$20 billion capital program as more projects begin operations."

Girling cited the completion of three projects -- the Cushing extension of the Keystone oil pipeline and the Groundbirch and Bison natural gas pipelines -- as "projects that will further contribute to TransCanada's earnings and cash flow for years to come."

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