Being able to say that 2008 was another strong year for TransCanada comes with considerable satisfaction. Success can be elusive at the best of times, but to be successful in this difficult global economy is a true achievement. TransCanada has done just that, producing strong financial results and making significant progress on a number of important initiatives.
Recognition of this performance was demonstrated by our ability to secure significant funding during 2008 for our large portfolio of attractive projects. This support in the capital markets was particularly gratifying and these funds will be used to continue to deliver long-term value to our shareholders.
In early February, as a further reflection of the confidence we have in the company, the Board approved an increase in the dividend on common shares for the ninth consecutive year, taking the quarterly dividend to $0.38 per common share or $1.52 annually. We also approved a three per cent discount on common shares issued under our dividend reinvestment and share purchase plan. The plan allows common and preferred shareholders to participate in our future by purchasing additional common shares at a discount.
While our financial track record is sound, we continue our commitment to social responsibility. TransCanada is one of only five companies from Canada to be recognized among this year's Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. These companies are honoured as having the best ability to manage environmental, social and governance risks. In addition, TransCanada was named to The Dow Jones Sustainability Index, recognizing the financial performance of leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.
The Board of Directors of TransCanada remains focused on strong corporate governance. Overseeing strategic direction and decision-making by the executive leadership are key responsibilities at all times but especially in this challenging environment, and we are focused on the goals and objectives we set for TransCanada over the long-term.
In the final analysis, though, delivering results must be founded on a practical philosophy, sound strategy and flawless execution. TransCanada's thoughtful, measured approach, the company's leaders and our 4,000 employees across North America are the reasons for our success. Along with all of the members of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank each team member for their extraordinary efforts in advancing our business in 2008. The company has doubled its asset base over the last decade to $40 billion through your contributions and continues on its path of becoming North America's leading energy infrastructure company.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
S. Barry Jackson