Category Archives: Retirement

A Higher-Growth Utility For Your Income Needs

Recently, I got an article published about Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (TSX:AQN)(NYSE:AQN). That’s right. It’s a higher-growth utility that might help to fill your income needs.

Summary

  • Algonquin is estimated to grow at a rate (of 10%) that’s double that of some its bigger peers.
  • It offers a ~4.9% yield and aims to increase its dividend at a CAGR of 10% through 2022.

Business Overview

Algonquin’s portfolio is best summed up in two parts:

1) Non-regulated electric generation assets powered by renewable and thermal energy. It has 1,545 MW of net generating capacity (68% wind, 8% hydro, 2% solar, and 22% thermal) across 38 facilities. This part of the portfolio makes up ~30% of Algonquin’s assets.

About 87% of the output from its hydro, wind, and solar facilities (i.e. ~68% of its net generating capacity) have long-term power purchase agreements with a production-weighted average remaining term of ~15 years.

2) Regulated electric, natural gas, water distribution and wastewater collection utility systems, and transmission operations serve 762,000 customers across 12 U.S. states through 33 utilities. This part of the portfolio makes up ~70% of Algonquin’s assets.

Algonquin has been benefiting from the shift to renewable power from coal. The utility has been growing its power portfolio partly by developing its own projects and partly by accretive acquisitions. Its regulated utilities continue to grow organically, and the company is also on the lookout for accretive acquisitions.

Dividend

Algonquin has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years with a 5-year dividend growth rate of ~9.6%, and it currently offers a decent yield of ~4.9% that’s juicier than most other utilities. Management targets dividend growth of ~10% per year, which will reduce Algonquin’s payout ratio over time.

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The Best 3 Places To Look For Safe Dividend Income

If history gives a hint about the future, it indicates that companies in certain industries tend to generate stable earnings or cash flows that lead to stable dividends.

If we choose the quality companies from these industries, we can then build a diversified portfolio that generates a secure, growing income stream. Below, I list some possibilities.

Utilities: A Must-Own Sector

Earnings generated by utilities are relatively stable because people need to use electricity, gas, and water, etc. no matter if the economy is doing well or not.

One utility that came out strongly from the last recession was Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (TSX:BIP.UN)(NYSE:BIP). Since 2009 it has been a five-bagger.

Brookfield Infrastructure is a rock solid utility, which owns and operates a global, quality portfolio of infrastructure assets, including toll roads, railroads, ports, pipelines, and telecom towers.

Its trusted management, Brookfield Asset Management (TSX:BAM.A)(NYSE:BAM), employs value investing and actively recycles mature assets for higher returns. Because management owns 30% of the partnership, retail unitholders can expect the management to be unitholder-friendly.

Indeed, Brookfield Infrastructure has increased its distribution every year since 2009. Going forward, it gives the guidance to grow its distribution by 5-9% per year. Currently, it offers a yield of 4.5% to start.

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Retirees: How To Protect The Principal Of Your Dividend Portfolio

There are various things retirees can do to protect the principal of their dividend portfolios. At the stock level, retirees can buy quality businesses with a minimum credit rating of BBB, a strong moat, and a long history of profitability at a margin of safety. Retirees should also ensure their portfolios are sufficiently diversified and build a cash reserve to sail smoothly through market downturns.

Investment-grade rating

Looking at a company’s credit rating is one factor of quality that can be easily checked.

Companies that have manageable levels of debt, good earnings potential, and good debt-paying records will have good credit ratings. – Investopedia

A company rated as BBB or higher by Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s is considered investment grade. The higher the rating, the higher the quality. Retirees can add a layer of safety by investing in stocks that have a credit rating of BBB+ or higher.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are both awarded the strongest S&P credit rating of AAA.

Earnings or cash flow stability

Depending on the type of the company, you would want to look at its earnings or cash flow history to see how stable its profitability is and if the company tends to grow its profitability over the long run.

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