Let’s face facts: Utilities are some of the most boring stocks on the planet. There’s nothing particularly exciting about providing electricity, water and natural gas to the general public.
However, that boring nature can be very fruitful for income investors. Just take natural gas utility Atmos Energy (ATO).
ATO is one of the country’s largest natural gas-focused utilities and provides the fuel to more than 3 million customers across eight different states. Atmos owns some pretty extensive natural gas pipeline and storage infrastructure, including one of the largest intrastate natural gas pipeline systems in Texas.
That size and scope has allowed ATO to pay steady dividends since 1984.
However, those payouts haven’t been static. On the back of stronger earnings, the natural gas utility recently increased its payout by 5.7% to 37 cents a share per quarter, or $1.48 annually. This higher payout now represents the 26th consecutive year that ATO has increased its dividend.
With stronger residential and commercial natural gas demand on the horizon, investors in ATO shares should expect more dividend increases down the road.