Enbridge commits to greater disclosure

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) says 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.

His comments come as the pipeline operator looks to advance about $28 billion worth of projects, with some of the largest ones still requiring 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 must be resolved before construction begins in that province.

The project stretches 1,660 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc., and at $8.5-billion is the largest project in the company’s history.

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.

It was the acquisition of that pipeline which prompted the shareholder resolution on acquisitions, but Monaco said the company still thought it a sound investment despite the opposition and protests that flared up last fall.

“It was hard to miss what was going on out there, and we were very concerned about it. Frankly, we spent a lot of time pondering this issue given the circumstances,” he said.

For the first quarter ending March 31, Enbridge saw earnings of $638 million or $0.54 a share, sliding from $1.2 billion or $1.38 per share for the same quarter last year.

For the full year, Enbridge said it was forecasting adjusted earnings of between $7.2 billion and $7.6 billion after closing its multibillion-dollar deal to take over Spectra Energy in late February. That compares to $4.7 billion last year.

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