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In compiling the Dividend Champions list (found here) I get to see which companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, but some companies go longer before boosting their dividends, and this can raise concerns about their streaks of increases.

Dividends in Doubt Series

This series lists companies whose latest dividend increases might be considered "overdue" because it has been more than a year since the previous increase, a possible sign that their streaks of increases are in danger. Some firms regularly go more than a year between increases, so this is only an "early warning" sign that some of them may warrant concern. This month, I've sorted the Champions, Contenders, and Challengers together, in order of their Quarterly (NYSE:PAY) date schedule, and then segregated them by when their streaks may end. The first group has until the end of 2013 to declare dividend increases and extend their streaks. The quarterly schedule shows when (in each quarter) a company usually pays its dividend, and it helps in this case to show which companies may be the first to see their streaks succumb to a freeze. For example, companies paying in an "A" month would pay their fourth-quarter dividend in October, whereas "C" companies will normally make the payment in December. Like all "rules," however, there can be some exceptions. The first company on the list, for example, is Kaydon, which recently declared a dividend payable on 9/27/13, rather than in early October, so it has seemingly "bought itself a little time" before it might be deleted, since this indicates that its next payment (which could be higher) may take place in late December. Another exception may apply to United Bankshares, which typically declares its increase in late December and makes the payment at the start of January, so its October payment won't be the "death knell" for its streak.

The second group has slightly longer before potential deletion, since their streaks are based on a fiscal year that ends in early 2014. (ASEI and FRS have until March 2014 and May 2014, respectively, to declare increases.) The remaining companies paid at least one lower amount in 2012 (before their most recent increase), so they'll automatically pay more in total in 2013, unless they cut their dividend, which means their streaks are "safe" until the end of 2014. Note that companies with dates in 2011 managed to pay their shareholders more in total during 2012 because the former was split between two rates, whereas the latter was composed of payments that all came at the higher rate instituted at the time of the last increase.

Streak will end without increase by end of calendar 2013

Company

Ticker

No.

7/31

Div.

Pay

Qtly

Ann.

EPS%

TTM

FYE

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Date

Sch

Div.

Payout

P/E

Month

Kaydon Corp.

(NYSE:KDN)

6

29.08

2.75

10/3/11

A03

0.80

n/a

n/a

12

PennantPark Investment

(NASDAQ:PNNT)

6

11.65

9.61

1/3/12

A03

1.12

92.56

9.63

9

United Bankshares Inc.

(NASDAQ:UBSI)

39

28.32

4.38

1/3/12

A04

1.24

73.81

16.86

12

Birner Dental Management

(NASDAQ:BDMS)

9

18.25

4.82

7/8/11

A08

0.88

220.00

45.63

12

NuStar Energy LP

(NYSE:NS)

12

45.60

9.61

8/12/11

B12

4.38

684.38

71.25

12

Natural Resource Partners

(NYSE:NRP)

10

21.59

10.19

11/14/11

B14

2.20

113.99

11.19

12

Westamerica Bancorp

(NASDAQ:WABC)

21

47.99

3.08

11/18/11

B18

1.48

54.81

17.77

12

TECO Energy Inc.

(NYSE:TE)

6

17.67

4.98

2/28/12

B28

0.88

78.57

15.78

12

Juniata Valley Financial

(OTCQB:JUVF)

22

17.60

5.00

9/1/11

C01

0.88

88.00

17.60

12

National CineMedia Inc.

(NASDAQ:NCMI)

6

18.11

4.86

9/1/11

C01

0.88

366.67

75.46

12

Columbia Sportswear Co.

(NASDAQ:COLM)

7

64.52

1.36

6/2/11

C02

0.88

28.21

20.68

12

National Instruments Corp.

(NASDAQ:NATI)

10

28.19

1.99

3/5/12

C05

0.56

76.71

38.62

12

Cablevision Systems Corp.

(NYSE:CVC)

5

18.69

3.21

9/9/11

C09

0.60

n/a

n/a

12

Molson Coors Brewing B

(NYSE:TAP)

5

50.06

2.56

6/15/11

C15

1.28

58.45

22.86

12

Streak will end without increase by end of fiscal 2014

Company

Ticker

No.

7/31

Div.

Pay

Qtly

Ann.

EPS%

TTM

FYE

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Date

Sch

Div.

Payout

P/E

Month

Frisch's Restaurants Inc.

(NYSEMKT:FRS)

6

21.81

2.93

10/10/11

A10

0.64

51.61

17.59

5

American Science & Engin.

(NASDAQ:ASEI)

5

60.79

3.29

12/1/11

C01

2.00

97.09

29.51

3

Streak will end without increase by end of calendar 2014

Company

Ticker

No.

7/31

Div.

Pay

Qtly

Ann.

EPS%

TTM

FYE

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Date

Sch

Div.

Payout

P/E

Month

Communications Systems

(NASDAQ:JCS)

11

10.60

6.04

4/1/12

A01

0.64

228.57

37.86

12

Constellation Software Inc.

(OTCPK:CNSWF)

6

145.80

2.74

4/2/12

A02

4.00

96.39

35.13

12

Best Buy Corp.

(NYSE:BBY)

10

30.09

2.26

10/2/12

A02

0.68

n/a

n/a

2

Dynex Capital Inc.

(NYSE:DX)

5

9.61

12.07

7/31/12

A31

1.16

85.29

7.07

12

Bank of Marin Bancorp

(NASDAQ:BMRC)

8

42.15

1.71

8/10/12

B10

0.72

24.91

14.58

12

Navios Maritime Partners LP

(NYSE:NMM)

5

15.09

11.73

8/13/12

B13

1.77

114.94

9.80

12

Teekay LNG Partners LP

(NYSE:TGP)

8

41.50

6.51

5/14/12

B14

2.70

139.18

21.39

12

1st Source Corp.

(NASDAQ:SRCE)

25

27.28

2.49

8/15/12

B15

0.68

32.38

12.99

12

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners

(NYSE:BWP)

7

31.31

6.80

5/17/12

B17

2.13

167.72

24.65

12

BOK Financial Corp.

(NASDAQ:BOKF)

8

66.69

2.28

5/29/12

B29

1.52

29.23

12.83

12

Intel Corp.

(NASDAQ:INTC)

9

23.33

3.86

9/1/12

C01

0.90

48.65

12.61

12

Gorman-Rupp Company

(NYSEMKT:GRC)

40

34.73

1.15

6/8/12

C08

0.40

35.40

30.73

12

United Technologies

(NYSE:UTX)

19

105.57

2.03

9/10/12

C10

2.14

39.56

19.51

12

CCFNB Bancorp Inc.

(OTCQB:CCFN)

15

37.49

3.52

6/14/12

C14

1.32

41.25

11.72

12

Muncy Bank Financial Inc.

(OTCQB:MYBF)

12

38.50

2.08

9/14/12

C14

0.80

n/a

n/a

12

TTM=Trailing Twelve Months; FYE=Fiscal Year End

Note that companies with Pay Dates that are less than a year old have already declared an unchanged next dividend, so they will become 'overdue' with that (next) dividend payment. Other companies will join this list as they pass the anniversaries of their previous increases without hiking their dividends. Since the determinant for inclusion revolves around the Dividend Payment, that Date is listed above, along with the Payout Ratio and the Price/Earnings ratio, two key indicators of a company's ability to increase the payout.

Assessing Risk

Some companies, such as REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and MLPs (Master Limited Partnerships), are structured to pay out more than earnings per share, so we can't easily tell from seemingly high payout ratios or P/Es just how risky they are. Some seemingly alarming ratios might suggest great risk, but a look ahead at the estimated earnings per share for this year or next might prove a bit more comforting. Companies with shorter streaks may be more likely to allow them to lapse, since they haven't yet established long histories (or "cultures") of rewarding shareholders with growing dividends. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome below.

Source: 'Overdue' Dividend Increases: Which Streaks Might End Soon