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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 most recent increases, which shows how long it's been since each company last raised its dividend. Note that companies with dates in 2012 managed to pay their shareholders more in total during 2013 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.

The good news is that the current Dividend-Streak "Death Watch" for 2013 has come to an end. ASEI has until March 2014 to declare an increase, since its streak is based on a fiscal year. 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 at least the end of 2014.

Streak will end without increase by end of fiscal 2014

Company

Ticker

No.

11/29

Div.

Pay

Qtly

Ann.

EPS%

TTM

FYE

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Date

Sch

Div.

Payout

P/E

Month

American Science & Engin.

(NASDAQ:ASEI)

5

71.66

2.79

12/1/11

C01

2.00

98.04

35.13

3

Streak will end without increase by end of calendar 2014

Company

Ticker

No.

11/29

Div.

Pay

Qtly

Ann.

EPS%

TTM

FYE

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Date

Sch

Div.

Payout

P/E

Month

Constellation Software Inc.

(OTCPK:CNSWF)

7

180.74

2.21

4/2/12

A02

4.00

93.46

42.23

12

Communications Systems

(NASDAQ:JCS)

11

11.48

5.57

4/1/12

A01

0.64

177.78

31.89

12

Teekay LNG Partners LP

(NYSE:TGP)

9

41.10

6.57

5/14/12

B14

2.70

114.89

17.49

12

TESSCO Technologies Inc.

(NASDAQ:TESS)

5

39.41

1.83

5/23/12

B23

0.72

34.95

19.13

3

Boardwalk Pipeline Part.LP

(NYSE:BWP)

8

26.34

8.09

5/17/12

B17

2.13

171.77

21.24

12

1st Source Corp.

(NASDAQ:SRCE)

26

31.95

2.13

8/15/12

B15

0.68

31.34

14.72

12

Intel Corp.

(NASDAQ:INTC)

10

23.84

3.78

9/1/12

C01

0.90

48.65

12.89

12

Enbridge Energy Part. LP

(NYSE:EEP)

7

30.09

7.22

8/14/12

B14

2.17

1552.86

214.93

12

Navios Maritime Part. LP

(NYSE:NMM)

6

16.81

10.53

8/13/12

B13

1.77

114.94

10.92

12

Muncy Bank Financial Inc.

(OTCQB:MYBF)

13

38.00

2.11

9/14/12

C14

0.80

n/a

n/a

12

Best Buy Corp.

(NYSE:BBY)

11

40.55

1.68

10/2/12

A02

0.68

n/a

n/a

2

Farmers and Merchants

(OTCQB:FMAO)

9

20.65

3.87

10/20/12

A20

0.80

40.61

10.48

12

Senior Housing Prop. Trust

(NYSE:SNH)

10

22.65

6.89

11/20/12

B20

1.56

195.00

28.31

12

Eagle Financial Services

(OTCQB:EFSI)

27

22.15

3.43

11/16/12

B16

0.76

37.44

10.91

12

NuStar GP Holdings LLC

(NYSE:NSH)

8

30.62

7.12

11/16/12

B16

2.18

192.92

27.10

12

Perrigo Company

(NYSE:PRGO)

11

155.89

0.23

12/17/12

C17

0.36

7.61

32.96

6

NACCO Industries

(NYSE:NC)

28

64.75

1.54

12/14/12

C14

1.00

18.18

11.77

12

Tennant Company

(NYSE:TNC)

42

65.26

1.10

12/14/12

C14

0.72

31.03

28.13

12

DeVry Inc.

(NYSE:DV)

8

35.54

0.96

12/19/12

JlDe

0.34

22.22

23.23

6

First Keystone Corp.

(OTCQB:FKYS)

12

25.75

4.04

12/31/12

C31

1.04

53.33

13.21

12

Texas Pacific Land Trust #

(NYSE:TPL)

10

99.76

0.25

12/21/12

Mar

0.25

11.74

46.84

12

R.G. Barry Corp. #

(NASDAQ:DFZ)

5

19.20

1.88

12/28/12

C05

0.36

34.95

18.64

6

C.H. Robinson Worldwide #

(NASDAQ:CHRW)

16

58.65

2.39

12/31/12

C31

1.40

38.67

16.20

12

JB Hunt Transport Svcs #

(NASDAQ:JBHT)

10

75.19

0.80

12/28/12

B29

0.60

21.43

26.85

12

Linear Technology Corp. #

(NASDAQ:LLTC)

21

42.55

2.44

12/28/12

B29

1.04

60.47

24.74

6

Western Union Company

(NYSE:WU)

5

16.67

3.00

12/31/12

C31

0.50

32.89

10.97

12

Minden Bancorp Inc. #

(OTCQB:MDNB)

11

16.85

2.02

12/31/12

B04

0.34

25.00

12.39

12

Bank of Utica #

(OTCQB:BKUT)

13

475.00

2.25

12/28/12

JaJl

10.70

n/a

n/a

12

Streak will end without increase by end of fiscal 2015

Company

Ticker

No.

11/29

Div.

Pay

Qtly

Ann.

EPS%

TTM

FYE

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Date

Sch

Div.

Payout

P/E

Month

Bowl America Class A

(NYSEMKT:BWL.A)

41

14.53

4.54

11/14/12

B14

0.66

110.00

24.22

6

ConAgra Foods Inc.

(NYSE:CAG)

6

32.99

3.03

12/24/12

C24

1.00

63.29

20.88

5

TTM=Trailing Twelve Months; FYE=Fiscal Year End; #=Paid Accelerated Dividend in December 2012

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. 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.

The Year Ahead

Since the danger of a dividend "freeze" hinges on completing back-to-back years of equal dividend totals, the 2014 Dividend Streak "Death Watch" won't begin until next August or September, so the streaks of most of the companies above aren't in any immediate danger. Of course, any dividend reductions or eliminations would lead to immediate deletion from the CCC listings. However, since there doesn't seem to be a likelihood of much activity on this front, I plan to submit these articles less frequently - perhaps every two or three months - until next fall.

Source: 'Overdue' Dividend Increases: No Immediate Danger