AGL Resources gives positive outlook at annual meeting

After today’s AGL Resources annual meeting, retired CEO David Jones gave one of the best compliments a former top executive can give.

“This company is in great shape,” Jones said. “And the dividend growth is solid.”

During this down economy, it’s highly unusual for a company to be reporting good news.

But current AGL Resources CEO John Somerhalder provided a relatively upbeat report to shareholders.

For starters, AGL is in the natural gas industry, considered one of the more efficient and environmental sustainable forms of energy. It has the smallest footprint of all fossil fuels, and it is part of the longterm climate change solution, Somerhalder said.

There also is a growing demand for natural gas, which puts the company in a solid position looking forward in the next five years — with the completion of major capital projects.

All of that bodes well for future earnings.

“Our stated objective is to grow earnings consistent with 4 to 6 percent growth, and to grow dividends at the same rate,” said Somerhalder, quickly adding: “but that would require approval of our board of directors.

For the first quarter this year, earnings were at $1.55 per share compared to $1.17 per share during the first quarter of 2008.

Not bad news for a company to deliver to its shareholders in this day and time.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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