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CALGARY, A.B. – Imperial Oil Ltd. raised its dividend nearly 16 percent as it reported that its first-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago.

The Calgary-based energy company says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 22 cents per share, up from 19 cents.

The increased payment to shareholders came as Imperial reported a profit of $293 million or 38 cents per diluted share for its first quarter.

That compared with a profit of $516 million or 62 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Rich Kruger, Imperial’s chairman and chief executive, says Alberta’s mandatory production curtailment order significantly affected the company’s financial performance.

Kruger says improved upstream realizations were more than offset by reduced downstream margins.

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