Saturday, October 02, 2010

Safety first

Well it turned out that performing a detailed investigation into SSE while staying awake was too hard. Instead I have considered some high level factors and decided on National Grid.

1. NG is growing faster. In 2009/10 SSE reported EPS growth of only 2% while NG grew 14%. Although SSE's compound growth for the last 12 years is 12%, growth has levelled off in the last two years. NG has grown in a more consistent way over the last 5 years but obviously not at a rate of 14% per year.

2. NG is lower risk. While SSE has a customer base it needs to keep hold of and large generating operations that are subject to one-off events, NG has a more predictable operation that is not subject to customer demand in the UK. It is everything a utility should be: predictable, high - yielding and without competition in its sector.

That is all the analysis I am going to do at this point. Perhaps utilities do not require as much research as other investments due to their intrinsic defensiveness and lack of competition.

As long as they keep yielding a 6% dividend that rises faster than inflation then I and most other investors will be happy.