These ASX utilities stocks have been good money-makers this year
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ASX utilities stocks may not be in the same league as gold or tech stocks – and some can drive consumers up the wall – but some have been big winners nonetheless.
Utilities stocks include companies that provide gas, electricity and water to consumers and in many cases run the underlying infrastructure.
The average ASX utilities stock has lost 2 per cent in 2020 but this is above the ASX 200’s 8 per cent decline and the sector has seen its fair share of winners.
The sector’s top performer, sitting on a 99 per cent gain in the last 12 months, is mobile network services provider Amaysim (ASX:AYS).
In 2018 and 2019 shares were in terminal decline due to disappointing financial results and the debt-funded acquisition of Click Energy not living up to shareholder expectations.
But its run began in June when there were rumours that it would soon be taken over by energy heavyweight Origin (ASX:ORG). While the company denied those rumours it did tell shareholders it was looking at unlocking shareholder value “including in respect of the energy business”.
In the last month it told shareholders it was offloading Click to energy retailer AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) for $115m.
Amaysim’s ownership of Click is likely why it is classified as a utilities stock by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) when most other telcos are under a unique category for communications stocks.
Another telco stock in this boat, and also a top performer up over 30 per cent in 2020, is TPC (ASX:TPC). This company is a mobile virtual network operator and it also owns an electricity and gas business (CovaU).
While it hasn’t made many announcements this year it is a dividend payer, paying 8 cents per share – representing a 6.56 per cent yield – and made a $3.36 million profit after tax in FY20, which was up 52 per cent from the year before.
The majority of other winners among ASX utilities stocks are in the renewable energy space.
Many renewable energy stocks fell last year in conjunction with the fall in renewable energy investment but have picked themselves back up off the ground.
Tilt Renewables (ASX:TLT) is the biggest winner, up 43 per cent in a year.
The company owns several wind farms across Australia and New Zealand, some of which are already producing energy. It reaped a $478 million profit after tax in the last financial year.
Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) is next, sitting on a 38 per cent 12-month gain. It too has active renewable energy projects particularly in wind but also in solar.
Prior to June, the company had seen a difficult few months.
Infigen had forecast lower electricity revenues in the current financial year and had to defer a handful of projects including the Flyers Creek Wind Farm and the relocation of its South Australian gas turbines.
The company was quick to get behind the offer when it was made.
Renu has had a tough couple of years with consecutive annual losses and underperforming assets, which they call “bioenergy projects” because they use multiple renewable technologies.
But in recent months it has made some portfolio adjustments, selling interests in a couple of projects it had minority stakes in and said it was seeking new merger & acquisition opportunities.
Volt has a low emission waste heat to electricity generation project at “an advanced stage of initial commercialisation”.
But it also has a mining services business, Wescone, which makes sample crushers. In August, it won a five-year contract with BHP (ASX:BHP) to replace its entire fleet.