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Why shares of AusNet Services are printing new 52-week highs

Shares of energy company AusNet Services (ASX: AST) hit a new 52-week high of $1.89 in morning trade following the company’s release of its half year results for the period ending 30 September 2017.
The company that operates electricity distribution, gas distribution and electricity transmission networks in Victoria saw revenue grow by 4.7% to $1,069 million from higher customer contributions and increased energy consumption due to the colder winter weather.
A cost efficiency program also helped lower operating costs which resulted in net profit after tax rising by an impressive 14.1% to $203.7 million.
The dividend remains well covered with the company’s cash flow from operations soaring 40% to $455.7 million.
AusNet also announced it will increase its half yearly dividend by 5% to 4.63 cents per share which will be unfranked. Management has guided for the FY 2018 dividend to be 9.25 cents per share which it expects to be unfranked based on the company’s estimated future tax liabilities.
The stock has risen 29% over the last 12 months as investors search for yield in a low interest rate environment. At current prices, the stock trades at a forward dividend yield of approximately 4.9%.

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Motley Fool Contributor Tim Katavic has no finanical interest in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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