The first stop for many dividend investors is the Dividend Aristocrats List, which highlights large cap, blue chip companies that have increased their dividends every year for at least the last 25 years. But with such difficult entry requirements, the list is short. Only slightly more than 40 companies are members, and once price and value are taken into account, the number of acceptable investments dwindles even further.
Enter the Dividend Achievers List, published by Mergent. A much broader list than the Aristocrats, the Achievers list is made up of US companies that have increased their yearly payouts for 10 or more years, and is not restricted to the S&P 500. The list includes blue chips, but also mid and small cap stocks, as well as REITs and MLPs. At over 200 companies, there are plenty of options for finding the next big play.
In order to narrow down the list, I've highlighted what I call the "Dividend Over Achievers". These 20 companies are the highest yielding of the group, and are a great starting point for further research.
- Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE: VGR) is a holding company. The company is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the United States through its Liggett Group LLC (Liggett) and Vector Tobacco Inc., research relating to reduced risk cigarette products through its Vector Tobacco Inc., and the real estate business through its New Valley LLC. Yield 9.4%
- Investors Real Estate Trust (NASDAQ: IRET) is engaged in owning and operating income-producing real estate properties. Its investments consist of multi-family residential properties and commercial office, commercial medical, commercial industrial and commercial retail properties. These properties are located primarily in the upper Midwest states of Minnesota and North Dakota. Yield 7.51%
- CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) formerly CenturyTel, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is an integrated communications company engaged primarily in providing a range of communications services, including local and long distance voice, wholesale local network access, high-speed Internet access, other data and video services. Over 75% of these lines are located in Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Alabama. Yield 7.03%
- Getty Realty Corp (NYSE: GTY) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States specializing in the ownership and leasing of retail motor fuel and convenience store properties and petroleum distribution terminals. As of December 31, 2009, it owned 910 properties and leased 161 additional properties. Its properties are located in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic regions in the United States. Yield 6.61%
- Energy Transfer Partners L.P. (NYSE: ETP) is a limited partnership based in the United States engaged in natural gas operations. The company’s natural gas operations consist of natural gas midstream and intrastate transportation and storage. Yield 6.59%
- Universal Health Realty Income Trust (NYSE: UHT) is a real estate investment trust that invests in healthcare and human service-related facilities, including acute care hospitals, behavioral healthcare facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, sub-acute facilities, surgery centers, childcare centers and medical office buildings. Yield 6.4%
- Kinder Morgan Partners L.P. (NYSE: KMP) is a pipeline transportation and energy storage company in North America. KMP owns an interest in approximately 28,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals. It has five business segments: products pipelines, natural gas pipelines, CO2, terminals and Kinder Morgan Canada. Yield 6.24%
- W.P. Carey and Co (NYSE: WPC) provides long-term, sale-leaseback and build-to-suit transactions for companies worldwide, and manages a global investment portfolio. It has two primary business segments, investment management and real estate ownership. Yield 6.18%
- National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT). NNN acquires, owns, invests in, manages and develops properties that are leased primarily to retail tenants under long-term net leases and primarily held for investment. Yield 6.14%
- Altria Group (NYSE: MO) is a holding company that through it's subsidiaries engages in the production and sale of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco products, and wine. Another subsidiary, Phillip Morris Capital, maintains a portfolio of leveraged and direct finance leases. Also, MO maintains a 27.3% stake in SABMiller, a brewery. Yield 6.13%
- Buckeye Partners L.P. (NYSE: BPL) is a master limited partnership. The Company owns and operates approximately 5,400 miles of pipeline and 67 products terminals that provide aggregate storage capacity of approximately 27.2 million barrels. It also owns and operates a natural gas storage facility in northern California, and is a wholesale distributor of refined petroleum products in the United States. Yield 6.11%
- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) provides telecommunications services in the United States and the world. It offers services and products to consumers in the United States and services and products to businesses and other providers of telecommunications services worldwide. Yield 6.02%
- Plains All American Pipeline L.P. (NYSE: PAA) is engaged in the transportation, storage, terminal transportation and marketing of crude oil, refined products, liquefied petroleum gas and other natural gas-related petroleum products. It is also engaged in the development and operation of natural gas storage facilities. The Company operates in three business segments: Transportation, Facilities, and Supply and Logistics. Yield 5.99%
- Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) through its subsidiaries, is primarily engaged in writing automobile insurance in a number of states, principally California. It also writes homeowners, mechanical breakdown, fire, umbrella, and commercial automobile and property insurance. Yield 5.96%
- Suburban Propane Partners L.P. (NYSE: SPH) is a nationwide marketer and distributor of a range of products meeting the energy needs of its customers. The Partnership specializes in the distribution of propane, fuel oil and refined fuels, as well as the marketing of natural gas and electricity in deregulated markets. It also installs and services a range of home comfort equipment, in the areas of heating and ventilation. Yield 5.89%
- Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) is a provider of mail processing equipment and integrated mail solutions. The company offers a range of equipment, supplies, software and services for end-to-end mailstream solutions, which enable its customers to optimize the flow of physical and electronic mail, documents and packages across their operations. Pitney Bowes Inc. operates in two business groups: Mailstream Solutions and Mailstream Services. It operates both inside and outside the United States. Yield 5.75%
- TC Pipelines L.P. (NASDAQ: TCLP) is a limited partnership formed by TransCanada Corporation and its subsidiaries (TransCanada) to acquire, own and participate in the management of energy infrastructure businesses in North America. TC PipeLines, together with its subsidiaries (the Partnership), earns revenue from the transportation of natural gas. Yield 5.68%
- PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) is an energy and utility holding company. Through its subsidiaries, PPL generates electricity from power plants in the northeastern and western United States, markets wholesale or retail energy primarily in the northeastern and western portions of the United States, and delivers electricity to approximately four million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom. Yield 5.59%
- Integrys Energy Group Inc. (NYSE: TEG) s a holding company for its regulated utility and non-regulated business units. The Company operates in five segments: natural gas utility, electric utility, Integrys Energy Services, the electric transmission investment, and the holding company, primarily in the Upper-Midwest United States. Yield 5.51%
- Progress Energy Inc. (NYSE: PGN) is a holding company primarily engaged in the regulated electric utility business. The company’s segments are Carolina Power & Light Company (PEC) and Florida Power Corporation (PEF), both of which are primarily engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity. Yield 5.43%
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.