If you’re looking for safe, predictable, shareholder-friendly companies to invest your money in, you could do far worse than the ten listed below. Collectively, they’ve been increasing shareholders returns for more than 300 consecutive years.
Badger Meter (BMI) has been raising its dividend annually since 1993, and has been ramping up the growth recently, with each of its four largest dividend hikes since 2002 coming in the last four years. Despite doubling its payout since 2005, the manufacturer of liquid flow measurement and control technologies still maintains a sub-30% payout ratio, leaving plenty of room for more of the same. Badger typically gives its shareholders a raise in mid-August.
BancFirst Corp. (BANF) has improved its dividend output every year dating back to 1994, and has been increasing its payout on a more predictable schedule (every four quarters) since 2003. The Oklahoma-based bank holding company has given its shareholders 16 double-digit raises during the streak, increasing its payout tenfold in the process. Bancfirst traditionally raises its dividend during the final week of August.
Carlisle Companies (CSL) has improved its dividend output every year going back to 1977, historically hiking its payout during the first week of August. This year should be no different, as the diversified manufacturing company is in great shape to run its streak to a 35th consecutive year. Carlisle sports a sub-20% forward payout ratio and has enough cash on hand to fund its current payout for more than two years.
Cincinnati Financial Corporation (CINF) has improved its dividend output for 50 consecutive years — one of only ten companies with a streak that long. The insurance holding company traditionally lifts is payout in mid-August and this year should be no different, though shareholders will likely have to settle for a third consecutive nominal raise. Cincinnati Financial has slowed its dividend growth in recent years to ride out a lull in operating earnings, but it’s strong enough from a capital standpoint to maintain its high payout through such periods.
Connecticut Water Service (CTWS) has raised its dividend every year dating back to 1968, a claim only 27 other publicly-traded companies can make. The company traditionally announces its annual dividend hike shortly after posting its second quarter results, which it’s scheduled to report on August 8 this year.
Dover Corporation (DOV) has improved its dividend output every year since 1956, which is tied for the third-longest streak among publicly-traded companies. The owner and operator of a global portfolio of manufacturing companies traditionally raises its payout during the first week of August, and given its paltry 21% forward payout ratio, it would be incredibly surprising if the company decided to take a pass this year.
Federal Realty Trust (FRT) has raised its dividend for 43 consecutive years, by far the longest streak among real estate investment trusts. And its crown is certainly safe, as it also has one of the lowest forward payout ratios (just 64%) within the REIT industry. Clearly the company’s earnings are growing faster than its dividend, which (by law!) will need to catch up. Federal Realty traditionally announces its annual dividend hike alongside its second quarter results, which it’s slated to release on August 3 this year.
Harleysville Group (HGIC) is currently on pace to improve its dividend output for the 25th consecutive year. The insurance holding company historically hikes its dividend during the first week of August, and in recent years has made the announcement the morning of its second quarter earnings release. Harleysville is scheduled to report earnings on August 8.
Harris Corporation (HRS) has raised its dividend every year dating back to 2002, which is the shortest streak among the companies listed here, but the communications and IT company has certainly maximized its nine years of dividend growth. Harris has handed its shareholders a double-digit raise during the last week of August every single year, boosting its payout tenfold in the process. Despite the aggressive increases, the company still maintains a sub-20% forward payout ratio, which means Harris shareholders will likely receive yet another sizable raise later this month.
MGE Energy (MGEE) has increased its dividend for 35 consecutive years, and there’s essentially zero chance it won’t make 2011 number 36. The utility holding company usually announces its annual dividend hike shortly after posting its second quarter results, which it’s slated to report on August 5 this year.
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