Utilities are a key component of solid dividend portfolios. Here are 3 utilities that provide current yields of about 3.5-4.4%. They’re fairly valued. Going through these examples will lead to an answer for the question in the title.
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (TSX:BIP.UN)(NYSE:BIP) split-adjusted funds from operations per unit (“FFOPU”) increased by 2% in 2020 during the pandemic, proving itself to be a defensive business in the face of adversity.
In the first half of the year (“H1”), BIP rebounded to growth with its split-adjusted FFOPU rising almost 19% to US$1.77. Contributing factors include an economic rebound, management taking advantage of market volatility during the 2020 pandemic market crash (such as by scooping up shares of Inter Pipeline (TSX:IPL) at basement prices), capital recycling, etc. Its H1 2021 payout ratio was 58% of FFO, which is a healthy payout ratio.
BIP remains one of our favourite utilities for income. We trust that management can live up to its word by increasing its cash distribution by 5-9% per year going forward.
This week we took the opportunity to buy the dip in Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (TSX:AQN)(NYSE:AQN). The company reports in USD and pays a USD dividend. So, we’re going to discuss the dividend stock on the NYSE and in USD.
The latest dip was triggered by an equity offering of US$1 billion. The reference price for the equity units is $15.00 per common share.
AQN stock Business Overview
Algonquin consists of two business segments: regulated utilities (natural gas, electric, and water) and non-regulated renewable energy (wind, solar, hydro, and thermal). Its renewable energy portfolio primarily consists of long-term contracts that have inflation escalations. Together, its portfolio allows it to generate stable earnings and cash flow.
Buy the Dip in Renewable Energy Stocks
Year to date, the stock has pulled back along with other renewable utility stocks. Investors can also consider Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P. (TSX:BEP.UN)(NYSE:BEP) and Northland Power (TSX:NPI). However, Algonquin provides the biggest yield of the three. It has also been a little more resilient, likely due to its exposure to regulated utilities that make up about two-thirds of its business.
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.
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.
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.
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.