Pipeline operator Kinder Morgan Inc. on Dec. 5 said it expects core earnings to decline next year as it increases its dividend and uses proceeds from asset sales to pay down debt.

The company forecast 2020 adjusted pre-tax earnings of $7.6 billion compared with its anticipated $7.8 billion in 2019.

Kinder Morgan expected to generate $5.1 billion of distributable cash flow in 2020, about 3% higher than the current forecast for 2019.

CEO Steven Kean pointed to new projects coming online, lower interest expense and improved realized prices in its CO2 business, though he said the growth was partially offset by lower re-contracting rates on some natural gas pipeline assets and crude and condensate assets.

The company said it plans to increase its dividend to $1.25 per share, annualized, next year, and expects to use internally generated cash flow to fully fund the dividend. The 2020 dividend would be up 25% from last year, the company said.

It expects to reduce the ratio of debt to adjusted pre-tax earnings to 4.3 next year, compared with an anticipated 4.4 by year end. It will use proceeds from asset sales to pay down debt.