German power company E.ON
Taking a look at the company's financial results, I think there's a pretty solid case to be made that E.ON should continue to produce respectable total returns for long-term owners.
For the full year, revenue rose 21%, and reported net income jumped 71%. Looking at numbers that I think are a bit more significant -- income from continuing operations and adjusted EBITDA -- we see growth rates of 9% and 5%, respectively. Operating cash flow grew 13% for the year, and free cash flow was up about 12%.
Looking at the company's core segments, all of them posted EBIT growth in 2005, except for the U.K. business, which suffered from high gas prices and some plant availability problems in the fourth quarter. Elsewhere, growth was strong in the pan-European gas business and in the Nordic region, and quite good in the Central European power business.
With solid cash flows coming into the business, management is looking to return a larger piece of that to shareholders. The company is intending not only to boost its dividend 17%, but also to pay a special dividend of approximately $1.69 per ADS in what would essentially represent a pass-through of the value of the company's stake in Degussa.
Of course, the big news remains the potential battle for approval of the company's bid to buy Spanish power company Endesa
Ultimately, I think there's a good chance that E.ON will get its deal through, and that will give the company some exposure to faster-growing areas of Europe and the world. There's no real shortage of interesting names among power ideas -- investors can also look at the likes of AES
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).