Why is the Origin (ASX:ORG) share price outperforming AGL in November?

How have these two energy giants stacked up against each other in November?

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The Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) share price is beating out its smaller energy peer, AGL Energy Limited (ASX: AGL), in November. Interestingly, it has been a month of relative radio silence from both ASX-listed companies. Likewise, the share prices of both energy retailers are in the red this month as we move towards December.

In November, the Origin share price has slipped 2.6% with hardly a peep from the company. Meanwhile, shares in AGL have suffered a 6.8% fall this month with little news, other than a Jobkeeper payments notice.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s been going on.

AGL keeps on sinking

It’s time to compare the Origin and AGL share price so far in November. To kick it off, let’s focus on what has been happening on the AGL front.

The share price destruction for AGL shareholders continues to be relentless. Earlier in the month, the 184-year-old company set a new 52-week low of $5.10. Though, in actuality, this was a multi-decade low for the AGL share price, not having been this low since the year 2000.

This disappointing achievement arrived at the doorstep of shareholders despite there being no price-sensitive announcement so far this month. In fact, the only notable news from the company was its declaration regarding Jobkeeper payments made to AGL during FY20 and FY21.

According to the release, the utility company received payments from the government for 70 individuals in FY20 and 66 individuals in FY21. This amounted to total Jobkeeper payments to AGL of $1,574,300 across the two financial periods.

Perhaps rubbing investors the wrong way, AGL has not made any voluntary repayment of the subsidies. This is despite numerous other ASX-listed businesses opting to pay back at least some of the taxpayer dollars that helped retain employees through the brunt of COVID-19.

Origin share price outperforms on a quiet month

It seems the less news the better is the case for the Origin share price this month. While it was quiet for AGL, it was even quieter for the larger electricity generator and retailer.

Investors are possibly still coming off the high from last month’s $2.12 billion sale of a 10% interest in Australia Pacific LNG. Furthermore, the transaction is expected to be completed by 31 December 2021. That means a $2 billion sugar hit is coming to the Origin balance sheet very soon.

Positively, the sale will allow the company to pay down its debts. At the end of June 2021, Origin had a debt of $4.939 billion, compared to cash of $898 million.

The Origin share price is still underperforming the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) over the past year.

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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