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AGL Energy Ltd (ASX:AGL) to appoint new CEO before Christmas

Shares in integrated energy company AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL) are up 2% to $19.63 at the time of writing on the day of its annual general meeting – with AGL revealing it would appoint a new CEO before the year is out.

The share price surge for AGL is out of the ordinary for the stock of late, after it sunk to 52-week lows this month – bottoming out at $19.04 on September 13.

Investors were rattled by the shock departure of former AGL CEO Andy Vesey back in late August, but AGL has revealed a new CEO will be at the helm of the company before the end of the 2018 calendar year.

But despite the imminent change in leadership, according to the AGM notes, AGL will go ahead with the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley by 2022, saying the shutdown is “simple economics”.

AGL chairman Graeme Hunt emphasised its commitment to “overall strategic direction” would remain unchanged irrespective of new leadership and said the Liddell closure would ensure the company could transition to a cleaner energy supply.

AGL certainly leads the way in terms of renewables.

The company today confirmed its earnings outlook for FY19 – between $970 million and $1.07 billion – would be attributable in part to the anticipated earnings lifts to the company’s portfolio of renewable generation assets.

Despite being its biggest competitor, Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) has a long way to go before it can match AGL’s interests in renewable energy generation.

But Origin shares are up 1.6% to $8.28 today as news of AGL’s AGM flows through.

Meanwhile, smaller players such as Tilt Renewables Ltd (ASX: TLT) and Infigen Energy Ltd (ASX: IFN) are having a shot in the space.

Tilt is heavily involved in the solar development pipeline across Australia, with a number of wind farms in development and assets across New Zealand.

Tilt shares have seen a healthy incline in the short time the company has been on the market but is currently being targeted by Infratil Ltd (ASX: IFT) and Mercury NZ Ltd (ASX: MCY) as part of a $2.30 per share joint venture takeover deal.

Infratil has deemed the offer as “unfair” and urged its shareholders not to accept the offer.

Tilt shares are at $2.13 at the time of writing.

Shares in small-cap wind farm operator Infigen are down 2.5% at the time of writing to 56c per share, but it’s possible the renewables company is somewhat undervalued right now, given that growth in the sector seems like a given in coming years as regulators make a push towards clean energy sources.

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Motley Fool contributor Carin Pickworth has no position in any of the stocks 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 Scott Phillips.

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