Several companies raised distributions over the past week. There were only two companies however which not only announced increases in distributions, but also have boosted dividends for over 5 years in a row. Dividend Growth Investors, who seek consistency in dividend increases could take a note on this companies for further research:
Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. (PNY), is an energy services company, that distributes natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and power generation customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This dividend champion raised its quarterly distributions by 3.60% to 29 cents/share. This marked the 33rd consecutive annual dividend increase for Piedmont. The company offers a 5% drip discount to investors who enroll in its drip plan and elect to automatically reinvest dividends. Yield: 3.90% (analysis)
Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (ELS) is a publicly owned real estate investment trust (REIT). The firm engages in the ownership and operation of lifestyle oriented properties. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 25% to 37.50 cents/share. This marked the seventh consecutive annual dividend increase for this REIT. Yield: 2.60%
Two other companies which I expect to see increasing dividends in March include PepsiCo (PEP) and Air Products and Chemicals (APD), based off their pattern of historical dividend increases.
PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) manufactures, markets, and sells various foods, snacks, and carbonated and non-carbonated beverages worldwide. PepsiCo has managed to boost distributions for 38 years in a row. Over the past decade the company has managed to increase dividends by 13% per year. (analysis)
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD) provides atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, equipment, and services worldwide. Air Products and Chemicals has managed to raise dividends for 28 years in a row. Over the past decade the company has managed to raise dividends by 10% per year. (analysis)
Currently, Piedmont Natural Gas (PNY) looks attractively valued. I would initiate a position in the company when it yields above 4% when funds are available. Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) has a very low yield, especially given the fact that as a REIT it has to distribute almost all of its income to shareholders. At $1.50/share in annual distributions, the payout is well covered from 2010’s FFO of $4/share. There is room for growth in distributions, however there might be better opportunities in the REIT sector.
Full Disclosure: Long APD and PEP
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