For the last 12 months, Southern Company’s (SO) payout ratio was ~76%, while Duke Energy’s (DUK) ratio was close to 97%. The ratio indicates the portion of total earnings given away by a company as dividends to shareholders. These huge payout ratios aren’t unusual among utilities (XLU). Generally, utilities pay a large portion of their earnings as dividends.
However, NextEra Energy (NEE), the biggest utility by market capitalization, has a relatively lower payout ratio compared to its peers. NextEra Energy paid out 59% of its total earnings as dividends to shareholders in 2017.
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