Rate increases and customer growth help bump profits at South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.’s parent by 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and by 8 percent for all of last year.

Also, SCANA Corp. increased the dividend on its common stock.

“We are optimistic about our growth in 2013 and look forward to another successful year as the economy in our service territory continues to show improvement,” Jimmy Addison, chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Fourth quarter earnings were $105 million, or 79 cents a share. SCANA reported today. For the year, the company’s profit was $420 million, or $3.20 a share.

The bulk of SCANA’s profits are generated at SCE&G, where net income for 2012 increased 11 percent over 2011 to $352 million. The utility’s fourth-quarter gain was $70 million, up about 8 percent from the year-earlier period.

SCE&G had about 670,000 electric customers and 323,000 natural gas customers at the end of 2012, year-over-year increases of 0.9 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively

Separately, Cayce-based SCANA said this week that it has raised the quarterly cash dividend on its common stock 2.5 percent to 50¾ cents a share. On annual basis, the payout will rise a nickel to $2.03.

The higher quarterly rate is payable April 1 to shareholders of record as of March 11.