May 2013 Client Letter
It’s not easy finding a company whose share price is down 55% on the year. And you most likely would not expect such a collapse to come from a boring utility company. But such is the case for Atlantic Power, a utility company that owns a diversified portfolio of power generation assets in Canada and the U.S.
Why did the shares of a supposed staid utility, a utility that began the year with a dividend yield of over 10%, no less, crater 55%? Has the Federal Reserve’s endless money printing campaign finally caused investors to go mad? Well, yes, but in the case of Atlantic Power, the stock did a face-plant for a more basic reason: the dividend was slashed. In late February, Atlantic Power announced a 66% reduction in its monthly dividend. Shareholders were crushed. It turns out that Atlantic was shelling out much more in dividends than it was generating in cash flow—an obviously unsustainable arrangement.