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In this space we normally look at companies that have recently raised their dividends. However, as the year draws to a close there were very few companies of note increasing their dividends this week. With that, I thought it would be interesting to see who might be the big dividend raisers in 2010. Here are seven companies for your consideration:

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) in April 2009 raised its dividend 10% to $0.44/share from $0.40/share. PG has increased its dividend for 53 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. 2010’s increase may not be as strong since 2009’s free cash flow was down 8.5% from 2008. However, it is still strong and the trailing 12-months is above the 2008 level. Also, PG’s 2009 share count is down in and its cash balance is up. Given this, I project a 2010 increase of 6-8%. The stock is currently yielding 2.9%. [Analysis]

Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) in April 2009 also raised its dividend 10% to $0.44/share from $0.40/share. CL has increased its dividend for 46 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. The 2010 increase should be higher then 2009’s since the company’s 12-month trailing free cash flow is up over 41% compared to 2008. The company’s most recet cash balance is up 52% and shares outstanding are down. I project a 2010 increase of 10-12%. The stock is currently yielding 2.1%.

W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW) in May 2009 raised its dividend 15% to $0.46/share from $0.40/share. GWW has increased its dividend for 38 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. The 2010 increase could be higher since the company’s 12-month trailing free cash flow is up over 62% compared to 2008 and its most recent cash balance is up nearly 70%. I project a 2010 increase of 15-17%. The stock is currently yielding 1.8%. [Analysis]

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) in April 2009 raised its dividend 11% to $0.40/share from $0.36/share. ABT has increased its dividend for 37 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. The 2010 increase should be similar to the 2009 increase since the company’s 12-month trailing free cash flow is down slightly (2%) compared to 2008, but it is currently sitting on 18% more cash. I project a 2010 increase of 10%. The stock is currently yielding 2.9%. [Analysis]

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) in March 2009 raised its dividend 15% to $0.2725/share from $0.2375/share. WMT has increased its dividend for 35 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. This cash generating machine continues to hum with a 10% increase (12-month trailing) in free cash flow compared to 2008. The more impressive statistic is the 12-month trailing cash flow is 2.4 time higher than the 2008 amount. I project a 2010 increase of 10%. The stock is currently yielding 2.0%. [Analysis]

Walgreen Company (WAG) in August 2009 raised its dividend 22% to $0.1375/share from $0.1125/share. WAG has increased its dividend for 34 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. This is another cash generating machine that saw a 2009 free cash flow increase of 168% compared to 2008 and the 2009 ending cash balance is 4.7 time higher than 2008’s. I project a 2010 increase of 15-20%. The stock is currently yielding 1.5%. [Analysis]

AFLAC Inc. (AFL) in February 2009 raised its dividend 17% to $0.28/share from $0.24/share. AFL has increased its dividend for 27 consecutive years and I expect them to do so again next year. In spite of all the negative publicity aimed at the financial sector, AFL’s free cash flow has grew approximately 15% the last 12 months compared to 2008 and its most recent cash balance has nearly doubled from the 2008 level. I project a 2010 increase of 10%. The stock is currently yielding 2.4%. [Analysis]

Obviously, the above increases are pure speculation on my part. But in a world where cash is king, somehow great companies always find a way to increase their dividends each year.

Disclosure: Long ABT, AFL, PG, WMT. See a list of all my income holdings here.

Source: Seven Stocks Expected to Grow Their Dividends in 2010