Dividend Kings

dividend king is a company, which has managed to grow annual dividends for at least 50 years in a row. There are only 26 such companies in the US, and perhaps a couple more in the rest of the world. It is not a small achievement to have been able to reward long-term shareholders with a dividend raise for over half a century.

Over the past 50 years, some calamities experienced include:

- The Vietnam War
- The oil crisis in the 1970s
- Stagflationary 1970s
- Double digit interest rates in the 1980s
- Fall of the Soviet Union in 1991
- 9/11 in 2001
- The Dot-com bubble bursting in 2000
- The housing bubble bursting in 2007 - 2008
- ZIRP and NIRP since 2009
- Seven Recessions since 1967…

Throughout this calamity each of those businesses managed to grow earnings, and raise the dividend to their long-term shareholders. If you are looking for a long-term shareholder base, the best way to build it is by paying those owners more every single year. This is a simple, but novel idea for corporations to embrace.

We had six new additions to the list in 2017, which brought the number of companies to 26. This is a record since we started tracking the list of dividend kings in 2010. When I first came up with the idea for the list of dividend kings in 2010, there were only eleven companies on it.

The new additions for the current year include:

- California Water Service (CWT)
- Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT)
- SJW Corp. (SJW)
- Stanley Black & Decker (SWK)
- Stepan Company (SCL)
- Target (TGT)

The companies in the 2018 dividend kings list include:

Company Name
Symbol
Industry
Yrs Dividend Increases
10-yr Dividend Growth
Dividend Yield
3M Company
MMM
Conglomerate
59
9.21%
1.97%
ABM Industries Inc.
ABM
Business Services
50
4.14%
1.82%
American States Water
AWR
Utility-Water
63
6.99%
1.86%
California Water Service
CWT
Utility-Water
50
1.84%
1.65%
Cincinnati Financial
CINF
Insurance
57
3.79%
2.69%
Coca-Cola Company
KO
Beverages-Non-alcoholic
55
8.49%
3.20%
Colgate-Palmolive Co.
CL
Personal Products
54
9.51%
2.16%
Dover Corp.
DOV
Machinery
62
11.24%
1.93%
Emerson Electric
EMR
Industrial Equipment
61
7.43%
2.92%
Farmers & Merchants Bancorp
FMCB
Banking
54
4.69%
1.97%
Federal Realty Inv. Trust
FRT
REIT-Shopping Centers
50
5.43%
3.06%
Genuine Parts Co.
GPC
Auto Parts
61
6.92%
2.94%
Hormel Foods Corp.
HRL
Food Processing
52
15.27%
2.05%
Johnson & Johnson
JNJ
Drugs/Consumer Prod.
55
8.03%
2.37%
Lancaster Colony Corp.
LANC
Food/Consumer Prod.
55
6.92%
1.87%
Lowe's Companies
LOW
Retail-Home Improv.
55
22.92%
1.92%
Nordson Corp.
NDSN
Machinery
54
11.78%
0.83%
Northwest Natural Gas
NWN
Utility-Gas
62
3.02%
2.95%
Parker-Hannifin Corp.
PH
Industrial Equipment
61
14.45%
1.36%
Procter & Gamble Co.
PG
Consumer Products
61
8.24%
3.04%
SJW Corp.
SJW
Utility-Water
50
3.65%
1.38%
Stanley Black & Decker
SWK
Tools/Security Products
50
6.71%
1.52%
Stepan Company
SCL
Cleaning Products
50
6.91%
1.13%
Target Corp.
TGT
Retail-Discount
50
18.09%
3.96%
Tootsie Roll Industries
TR
Confectioner
51
4.38%
0.96%
Vectren Corp.
VVC
Utility-Electric/Gas
58
2.79%
2.69%

This track record is a testament to the stability of the underlying businesses that generated the earnings growth necessary to grow the dividend for half a century (and longer). This track record is an indication of a business that is relatively immune to outside shocks. This resilience throughout the period manifests itself into the long stretch of dividend increases, spanning over half a century.

While these companies are not investment recommendations, I post them as examples for further study by serious dividend investors. Studying the businesses, their industries, could give you clues as to the type of business that can flourish over a half of a century.

As I mentioned above, I have been compiling the list of dividend kings since 2010. To view the historical changes in the list, please follow the links below:


2018 Dividend Kings List

Dividend Kings List for 2017

Dividend Kings for 2016

Dividend Kings List for 2015

The Dividend Kings List for 2014

The Dividend Kings List Keeps Expanding in 2013

Eleven Dividend Kings, Raising dividends for 50+ years

Ten Dividend Kings raising dividends for over 50 years

Thank you for reading!

PS Note that Parker-Hannifin's track record is based upon dividend payments for its Fiscal Year rather than the Calendar Year. The fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Therefore, the FY 2015 dividend was $2.37/share ( one dividend payment of 48 cents/share plus three dividend payments of 63 cents/share).
The FY 2016 dividend was $2.52/share ( four dividend payments of 63 cents/share)
The FY 2017 dividend was $2.58/share ( two dividend payments of 66 cents/share plus two dividend payments of 63 cents/share)

Because of the use of Fiscal Years, rather than Calendar Years, I excluded Parker - Hannifin from the first list of dividend kings that I compiled in 2010.

Update: 06/17/2018

In early 2018 I listed Target as a dividend king incorrectly with a 50 year history of annual dividend increases. Upon reviewing the dividend history for Target on the company’s investor relations website, I agree that it has only managed to boost distributions for 47 years in a row ( which is not a small achievement either). Therefore, I am downgrading it back to dividend champion status. Hopefully in three years it can become a dividend king. The lesson for this paragraph is to trust, but always verify the numbers you see. In addition, you should always do your own research and only invest in what makes sense for you. Blindly following others is frequently a mistake.

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