Enbridge commits to greater disclosure on Indigenous and environmental issues
Calgary-based company's profits drop but jump expected from Spectra purchase
Enbridge said it will increase disclosure on how it factors in Indigenous and environmental issues when making acquisitions, despite shareholders voting about two-thirds against a resolution calling for just that on Thursday.
"We thought, and still do, that the idea of providing more information on our approach to investments and acquisitions was a very good one," said chief executive Al Monaco at the company's annual general meeting.
He said the company would add the information to its corporate social responsibility reporting as part of the company's efforts to be more transparent.
"Whether it's a green party, whether it's a community, or any other constituency or stakeholder, our job is to make sure they understand our approach to the business," said Monaco.
Profits expected to jump
His comments come as the pipeline operator's 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.
Projects in the pipeline
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.
The project stretches 1,660 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc.
Dakota Access Pipeline
Enbridge also closed its acquisition of a 27.6 per cent interest in the Bakken Pipeline System for $1.5 billion US, 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.
At the company's annual general meeting in Calgary on Thursday, a small group of protesters gathered out front, organized under the banner of Justice for Standing Rock — referring to the U.S. reservation where protests erupted in an attempt to block the Dakota Access Pipeline from passing through the territory.
The group said it's there in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock and to show its opposition to the Line 3 pipeline.
With files from Mark Matulis