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Fortis increases 5-year CapEx plan to C$14.5B, boosts dividend

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Fortis increases 5-year CapEx plan to C$14.5B, boosts dividend

Fortis Inc. increased its five-year capital investment plan by C$1.5 billion to approximately C$14.5 billion for the period 2018 through 2022.

The plan is driven by a "diversified mix of highly executable, low-risk" projects that improve the transmission grid, address natural gas system capacity and gas line network integrity, replace aging wooden poles, increase cyber protection and allow the grid to deliver cleaner energy, Fortis said in an Oct. 16 release.

"We are focused on modernizing our energy networks to handle the changes occurring in our industry while at the same time exceeding the expectations of our customers. Our development projects which are not included in the capital investment plan, and our focus on pursuing additional opportunities in our service territories, would be additive to our five-year outlook providing potentially meaningful upside," Fortis President and CEO Barry Perry said.

The plan is fully funded through debt raised at the utilities, cash from operations and common equity from its dividend reinvestment plan. As a result, consolidated rate base is projected to increase to approximately C$32 billion in 2022 from more than C$25 billion in 2017, according to the release.

Additionally, Fortis raised fourth-quarter dividend by 6.25% to 42.5 Canadian cents per common share, payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record at the close of business Nov. 20. The company is targeting average annual dividend per common share growth of approximately 6% through 2022 based on an annual dividend of C$1.60.