In May 2020, ATLAS produced a paper examining the impact from COVID-19 on dividends in its portfolio assets and the broader listed infrastructure universe. Not surprisingly, there was a clear bifurcation between transport assets which had their demand truncated by government policies and utility assets which held firm. Regional differences were also emerging. Only c.3% of North American listed infrastructure assets within the ATLAS universe had announced a dividend change. This compared to 36% in UK/Europe. A final, more nuanced theme that was developing was for some infrastructure companies (which had no demand or financial need to conserve cash) to suspend or defer dividends in order to maintain their social contract and to avoid being seen as ‘profiteering’ during periods of extreme financial hardship.
In this paper, we have updated the previous analysis to examine any changes to expected forward yields post the Q2 reporting season. We have also expanded the analysis to include an examination on EBITDA and earnings expectations. We compare the ATLAS portfolio with the listed infrastructure sector and to general equities and assess the extent to which the impact of both Covid 19 and the resulting global recession has been captured in dividend and earnings expectations to date.