In previous write-ups, I've covered the electric utilities, the gas utilities, and the water utilities, however, they were all U.S. based companies. There are several publicly traded foreign utilities, some of which can provide reasonably good yields, global diversification, and trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Foreign utilities are in an industry category by themselves. The largest by market cap is Enel SpA (EN), a Rome based company which provides electricity and gas to Italy, with additional electric service to Spain and Bulgaria. It just won an auction, along with another Italian utility, to purchase the Russian Yukos oil company which had gone bankrupt. P/E is 17, P/S is 1.3 and the stock has a yield of 3.5%. Dividends are paid twice a year.
Second largest is the French company, Veolia Environnement SA (NYSE:VE), which in addition to electrical production, is also in the business of water distribution, waste management, and road and rail transportation. It even provides major water distribution in North America. P/E is 30, P/S is .79 and its yield is 1.6%. Pays only once a year.
Korea Electric Power Corp. (NYSE:KEP) is the third largest, and is based in Seoul, South Korea. Unfortunately, it doesn't pay a dividend.
Scottish Power plc (SPI-OLD), based in Glasgow, Scotland, provides electricity throughout the United Kingdom. P/E is a low 9.4, P/S is 2, and the yield is 3%, which it has historically paid four times a year.
International Power plc (IPR) based in London, generates electricity from coal [which it gets from its own mines], gas, oil, wind, and water. P/E is 16, P/S is 2.4 and the yield is only 1%, which it only pays annually.
Empresa Nacional de Electricidad S.A. (NYSE:EOC) is a Santiago, Chile company which provides electricity to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. P/E is 33, P/S is 4.5 and the yield is only .8%. Historically, the company has paid dividends only once or twice a year.
Disclosure: Author does not own any of the above.