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Fortis increases 5-year CapEx plan to C$17.3B, boosts dividend 5.9%

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Fortis increases 5-year CapEx plan to C$17.3B, boosts dividend 5.9%

Fortis Inc. on Oct. 15 announced an increase to its five-year capital investment plan to C$17.3 billion for 2019 through 2023, up C$2.8 billion from the 2017 plan.

Additionally, Fortis declared a 5.9%, or 2.5-cent increase to the company's fourth-quarter dividend, making it 45 Canadian cents per common share. The dividend is payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record at the close of business Nov. 20. The company is targeting 6% annual average annual dividend growth per common share through 2023, based on an annualized dividend of C$1.70.

Based on the new CapEx plan, Fortis projects consolidated rate base increasing to C$35.5 billion in 2023, from C$26.1 billion in 2018.

"Our five-year capital investment plan has increased nearly 20% over the plan announced at this time last year," Fortis President and CEO Barry Perry said in a news release.

Fortis described its capital plan as occurring at its regulated businesses and consisting almost entirely of "a diversified mix of highly executable, low-risk projects."

Approximately C$900 million will be invested in grid modernization projects in the U.S. Midwest, C$600 million will be spent in both Arizona and Ontario. An additional investment of C$600 million is planned for the company's natural gas operations in British Columbia.

The plan will be financed through debt raised at the utilities, cash from operations and common equity from the company's dividend reinvestment plan. The remaining funds will be generated from asset sales, expected to generate approximately C$1 billion to C$2 billion in proceeds over the five-year period.