Top 8 Gas Utilities Paying Excellent Dividends

|
Includes: APU, DGAS, EGAS, GAS, NKA, SPH, SR, TEG
by: Efsinvestment

There is a lot of speculation about a renaissance in the natural gas sector. Natural gas can be an excellent candidate to do the work that was once done by nuclear power. In the aftermath of Japan's nuclear disaster, demand for gas utilities might get quite high. Therefore, we decided to screen for the top eight gas utilities with substantial dividends, and a maximum P/E ratio of 20. All of the following companies offered a minimum 4% dividend yield in 2010. Data is derived from finviz. While there are hundreds of gas companies listed on the NYSE, only the following large cap gas utilities fit into this criteria:

AGL Resources Inc. (AGL): As an energy services holding company, AGL is in the business of distributing natural gas in Tennessee, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. The market capital of AGL is $3.13 billion and the P/E ratio is 13.3, while the forward P/E ratio is 12. The company had an EPS growth of 3.93% over the last five years. With a net profit margin of 9.86%, AGL Resources paid a dividend yield of 4.60% last year. Recent dividend payments of AGL per share are as follows:

Feb 16, 2011

$0.45

Nov 17, 2010

$0.44

Aug 11, 2010

$0.44

May 12, 2010

$0.44

Click to enlarge

AmeriGas Partners LP (APU): AmeriGas is a natural gas company operating as a retail propane distributor in the U.S. APU also sells, installs and services propane appliances including heating systems. APU has a market capitalization of $2.76 billion and a P/E ratio of 17.8. The forward P/E ratio is 14.6. AmeriGas had an excellent EPS growth of 20.59% during the last five years. The net profit margin in 2010 was 6.60%, and the company offered a dividend yield of 6.00% over the same period. Recent dividend payments of AmeriGas per share are as follows:

Feb 8, 2011

$0.705

Nov 8, 2010

$0.705

Aug 6, 2010

$0.705

May 6, 2010

$0.705

Click to enlarge

Delta Natural Gas Co. Inc. (DGAS): Distributing or transporting natural gas in central & southeastern Kentucky, Delta Natural has about 2,500 miles of natural gas gathering, transmission, distribution, storage and service lines. The market capital of DGAS is $105.8 million and the P/E ratio is 16 while the forward P/E ratio is 13.1. The company had an EPS growth of 1.81% over the last five years. Delta Natural’s net profit margin was 8.13% and last year’s dividend was 4.40%. Recent dividend payments of DGAS per share are as follows:

Feb 25, 2011

$0.34

Nov 26, 2010

$0.34

Aug 27, 2010

$0.34

May 27, 2010

$0.325

Click to enlarge

Gas Natural Inc. (EGAS): Gas Natural, formerly known as Energy Inc., sells and distributes natural gas in North Carolina, Montana, Wyoming and Maine. The market capital of EGAS is $71.3 million and the P/E ratio is 7.8 while the forward P/E ratio is 16.1. Gas Natural had an EPS growth of 10.03% over the last five years. With a net profit margin of 10.03 % and a dividend yield of 4.90%, Gas Natural is more profitable than Delta Natural. Recent dividend payments of Gas Natural Inc. per share are as follows::

Mar 11, 2011

$0.045

Feb 11, 2011

$0.045

Jan 12, 2011

$0.045

Dec 13, 2010

$0.045

Click to enlarge

Laclede Group Inc. (LG): As a public utility holding company, Laclede Gas provides natural gas service to an approximate number of 630,000 customers in St. Louis and surrounding counties. The market capital of LG is $859.3 million and the P/E ratio is 15.6 while the forward P/E ratio is 14.6. Gas Natural had an EPS growth of 5.02% over the last five years. Last year’s dividend was 4.30% and the company had a net profit margin of 3.23%. Recent dividend payments of LG per share are as follows:

Mar 9, 2011

$0.405

Dec 8, 2010

$0.405

Sep 8, 2010

$0.395

Jun 9, 2010

$0.395

Click to enlarge

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC (NKA): Niska Gas, founded in 2006 and based in Houston, Texas, is a company in the business of owning and operating natural gas storage assets in North America. Niska Gas has a market capitalization of $1.48 billion and a P/E ratio of 15.91, while the forward P/E ratio is 23.35. The company is expected to have an EPS growth of 3% in the next five years. With a net profit margin of 48.64%, Niska Gas and a dividend yield of 6.38%, Niska Gas is an excellent stock for dividend lovers. Recent dividend payments of Niska Gas per share are as follows:

Feb 3, 2011

$0.35

Nov 8, 2010

$0.35

Aug 6, 2010

$0.173

Click to enlarge

Suburban Propane Partners LP (SPH): Suburban Propane distributes fuel oil, propane and refined fuels, markets natural gas and electricity in the U.S. The market capital of Suburban Propane is $2 billion and the P/E ratio is 18.3 while the forward P/E ratio is 14.7. Suburban Propane’s net profit margin was 9.46% and last year’s dividend was 6.10%. The company had an EPS growth of 10.08% over the last five years. Recent dividend payments of SPH’s per share are as follows:

Jan 28, 2011

$0.853

Oct 29, 2010

$0.85

Jul 30, 2010

$0.845

Apr 30, 2010

$0.84

Click to enlarge

Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (TEG): Integrys Energy Group is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company in the U.S. and Canada. The market capital of Integrys Energy is $3.97 billion and the P/E ratio is 17.9 while the forward P/E ratio is 14.3. The company had a EPS growth of -5.78% over the last five years, but is expected to have a 6.96% five-year EPS growth in the next five. Integrys Energy’s net profit margin was 4.25% and last year’s dividend was 5.40%. Recent dividend payments of TEG’s per share are as follows:

Feb 24, 2011

$0.68

Nov 26, 2010

$0.68

Aug 27, 2010

$0.68

May 26, 2010

$0.68

Click to enlarge

None of the companies above reduced their quarterly payments. Their dividends follow an increasing trend.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.