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AGL Energy's (ASX:AGL) Shareholders Will Receive A Smaller Dividend Than Last Year

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AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) has announced it will be reducing its dividend payable on the 29th of September to AU$0.34. The yield is still above the industry average at 10%.

Check out our latest analysis for AGL Energy

AGL Energy Might Find It Hard To Continue The Dividend

We like to see robust dividend yields, but that doesn't matter if the payment isn't sustainable. While AGL Energy is not profitable, it is paying out less than 75% of its free cash flow, which means that there is plenty left over for reinvestment into the business. This gives us some comfort about the level of the dividend payments.

Looking forward, earnings per share could 28.4% over the next year if the trend of the last few years can't be broken. This means that the company will be unprofitable, but cash flows are more important when considering the dividend and as the current cash payout ratio is pretty healthy, we don't think there is too much reason to worry.

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Dividend Volatility

The company has a long dividend track record, but it doesn't look great with cuts in the past. Since 2011, the first annual payment was AU$0.59, compared to the most recent full-year payment of AU$0.65. Dividend payments have grown at less than 1% a year over this period. It's encouraging to see some dividend growth, but the dividend has been cut at least once, and the size of the cut would eliminate most of the growth anyway, which makes this less attractive as an income investment.

The Dividend Has Limited Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share is growing. Earnings per share has been sinking by 28% over the last five years. Dividend payments are likely to come under some pressure unless EPS can pull out of the nosedive it is in.

AGL Energy's Dividend Doesn't Look Sustainable

Overall, the dividend looks like it may have been a bit high, which explains why it has now been cut. The company is generating plenty of cash, which could maintain the dividend for a while, but the track record hasn't been great. This company is not in the top tier of income providing stocks.

Market movements attest to how highly valued a consistent dividend policy is compared to one which is more unpredictable. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. As an example, we've identified 3 warning signs for AGL Energy that you should be aware of before investing. If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of high performing dividend stock.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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