Written by Andrew Walker at The Motley Fool Canada
Fortis (TSX:FTS) owns and operates $65 billion in power generation, electricity transmission, and natural gas distribution assets across Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. The stock has rebounded considerably off the 12-month low near $49 to the current price of $61.50 but is still short of the $65 it reached in May last year.
Fortis delivered solid first-quarter (Q1) 2023 results. Adjusted net earnings came in at $0.91 per share compared to $0.74 in the same period last year. Fortis is working on a $22.3 billion five-year capital program that will increase the rate base to $46.1 billion by 2027 from $34.1 billion in 2022. The company plans to spend $4.3 billion in 2023.
Management expects the capital program to deliver enough revenue and cash flow expansion to support targeted dividend increases of 4-6% per year through 2027. Fortis raised the payout in each of the past 49 years. At the time of writing, the stock provides a 3.7% dividend yield.
Emera (TSX:EMA) is another Canadian utility with operations primarily located in Canada and the United States. The company has $40 billion in assets serving 2.5 million customers.
Emera stock has also recovered nicely from the 2022 pullback. The shares trade near $59 at the time of writing compared to $49 in November last year. The stock price hit a peak close to $65 last May.
Emera delivered Q1 2023 adjusted earnings of $0.99 per share, up 8% from Q1 last year. The three-year capital program of at least $8 billion is expected to drive 7-8% rate base growth through 2025. As a result, management is targeting dividend growth of at least 4% per year over that timeframe. The board raised the distribution in each of the past 16 years.
Investors who buy Emera stock at the current level can get a 4.7% dividend yield.
The bottom line on top TSX dividend stocks to buy now
Fortis and Emera are not as cheap as they were last fall, but the stocks still look attractive for investors seeking reliable and growing passive income in an uncertain economic environment. The two companies get the majority of their revenue from regulated utility businesses. Households and commercial locations need to have electricity and natural gas regardless of the state of the economy. As such, these stocks should be good to own through a recession.
Higher borrowing costs due to the sharp rise in interest rates in the past year might put a dent in cash available for distributions, but dividends are still expected to grow steadily in the next few years. This will boost the return on the initial investment.
If you have some cash to put to work in a self-directed portfolio focused on dividends Fortis and Emera are solid Canadian utility stocks that deserve to be on your radar. If you only choose one, I would probably make Emera the first choice today for the higher yield.
The post Dividend Investors: Top Canadian Utility Stocks for May 2023 appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.
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The Motley Fool recommends Emera and Fortis. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Fool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stock mentioned.