ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 28, 2005) - Fortis Inc. ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") (TSX:FTS) today announced that its Board of Directors approved a four-for-one stock split of the Corporation's outstanding common shares (the "Common Shares").
The four-for-one stock split will take the form of a stock dividend. Shareholders will receive three additional Common Shares for each Common Share held. The stock dividend will be payable on October 21, 2005 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 14, 2005. Share certificates representing the additional Common Shares will be mailed to registered share owners on October 21, 2005 and existing share certificates should be retained by the share owners. The Common Shares are expected to begin trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on a split basis on October 12, 2005. The stock split will have no unfavourable tax consequences to Fortis shareholders resident in Canada.
In addition, Fortis declared a quarterly Common Share cash dividend of 16 cents per share (equivalent to 64 cents per share on a pre-split basis) on the issued and outstanding fully paid Common Shares of the Corporation, payable on December 1, 2005 to the Common Shareholders of record at the close of business on November 4, 2005. This quarterly common share dividend is an increase of 1.75 cents per share (equivalent to 7 cents per share on a pre-split basis).
"The stock split reflects the profitable growth Fortis has achieved over many years," says Stan Marshall, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fortis Inc. "Our history of profitable growth has enabled Fortis to increase its annual Common Share dividend payments to shareholders for 32 years, making Fortis the leader in Canada for the most consecutive years of annual dividend payment growth."
"Fortis anticipates that the stock split will increase the availability of Common Shares for purchase by investors. The increase in liquidity of shares and the related reduction in the board lot cost of our shares will likely benefit both institutional shareholders and the significant number of retail shareholders who have been long-term investors in Fortis," says Marshall. As a result of the stock split, the number of Fortis Common Shares outstanding has quadrupled to approximately 103 million shares.
"Fortis continues to position itself as the leading Canadian electric distribution utility. We remain focused on serving our customers well while continuing to grow our business profitably and delivering good returns to our shareholders," concludes Marshall.
Fortis Inc. is a diversified, international electric utility holding company with assets exceeding $4 billion and annual revenues of approximately $1.2 billion. It has holdings in 7 regulated distribution utilities located in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Belize and the Cayman Islands. It has non-regulated generation operations in Newfoundland, Ontario, British Columbia, upper New York State and Belize. Fortis Inc. has investments in real estate and hotel operations through Fortis Properties Corporation, its wholly owned non-utility subsidiary.
The Common Shares, Series C First Preference Shares and Series E First Preference Shares of Fortis Inc. are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols FTS, FTS.PR.C and FTS.PR.E, respectively. Fortis Inc. information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com.
Fortis Inc. (or the "Corporation") includes forward-looking statements in this release. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally. Such events include, but are not limited to, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments, weather and competition. Fortis Inc. cautions readers that should certain events or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary significantly from those expected. For additional information with respect to certain of these risks or factors, reference should be made to the Corporation's continuous disclosure materials filed from time to time with Canadian Securities Regulatory Authorities. Fortis Inc. disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Barry V. Perry
Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer