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Fortis boosting quarterly dividend 3.3% to 31 cents per share; payable March 1

The Canadian Press

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) is increasing its quarterly common share dividend by a penny to 31 cents.

The electricity and gas distribution company, which also operates power generation assets and owns commercial real estate, said Tuesday that the 3.3 per cent increase will apply to the dividend payable March 1 to shareholders of record on Feb. 14.

Based on the issue's early afternoon price on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the increase would boost the annual yield to 3.7 per cent. Fortis stock was up 24 cents at $33.52.

Fortis said the increase extends the company's record of annual common share dividend increases to 40 consecutive years, the longest of any public corporation in Canada.

Fortis is the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada, with total assets of more than $14 billion and fiscal 2011 revenue totalling some $3.7 billion.

Regulated holdings include electric distribution utilities in five Canadian provinces and two Caribbean countries and a natural gas utility in British Columbia. Fortis also owns and operates non-regulated generation assets across Canada and in Belize and upstate New York and owns hotels and commercial office and retail space in Canada.