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Standard & Poor’s just reported that 2009 was the worst year for dividends, with the number of dividend increases falling by 36% to 1191. The number of companies slashing dividends rose by 631% to 804 issues. After taking a big bath in 2009 however, dividends are expected to have a stellar year in 2010. Several companies kicked off the new year with dividend raises. I have also highlighted several companies which have a long track record of consistent dividend growth which are expected to boost distributions in January.

Pentair, Inc. (NYSE:PNR), which is a diversified industrial manufacturing company primarily in the United States, Europe, and Asia., increased its quarterly dividend by 5.60% to 19 cents per share. Pentair, Inc. is a dividend champion, which has increased its quarterly dividend in each of the past thirty-four consecutive years. The stock currently yields 2.20%.

Robbins & Myers, Inc. (NYSE:RBN), which supplies engineered equipment and systems for various applications in energy, industrial, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets worldwide, increased its quarterly dividend by 6.25% to 4.25 cents per share. This is the fourth consecutive dividend increase for Robbins & Myers, Inc. since 2006. The stock currently yields only 0.70%.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ:CLMT), which produces and sells specialty hydrocarbon products in North America, increased its quarterly dividend by 1.10% to 45.50 cents per unit. This is the first distribution increase for Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. since the company cut distributions in2008. The units currently yield 9.80%.

Five dividend aristocrats, which have a long track record of raising distributions, are expected to boost distributions in January as well.

Bemis (NYSE:BMS) has raised its dividend every January over the past two years. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 26 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 6.60%. The stock currently yields 3%. (analysis)

Cintas (NASDAQ:CTAS) has raised its dividend every January over the past seven years. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 26 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 10.10%. The stock yields 1.80%.

Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) has raised its dividend every January over the past seven years. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 35 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 0.90%. The stock currently yields 5.30%. (analysis)

Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) has raised its dividend every January over the past seven years. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 33 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 9.70%. The stock currently yields 2%. (analysis)

McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP) has raised its dividend every January over the past seven years. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 36 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 8.50%. The stock currently yields 2.70%. (analysis)

Full Disclosure: Long ED, FDO and MHP

Source: 2010 Expected to Be a Better Year for Dividends