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The Dividend Champions spreadsheet and PDF have been updated through 4/29/11 and are available here. Note that all references to Champions mean companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years; Contenders have streaks of 10-24 years; Challengers have streaks of 5-9 years. The term “CCC” refers to the listing as a whole.

Companies in Waiting

As companies extend their streaks, usually with annual announcements of increases, Contenders graduate to Champion status and even more Challengers graduate to Contender status. That leaves it to new companies to replenish the Challengers list, and there are many firms working their way toward inclusion. Since last fall, I have been building a listing of those companies that have paid higher dividends for four straight years, which is included each month as an Appendix on the Notes tab of the CCC document. Already in 2011, 18 companies have made their way unto the Challengers list, including such diverse names as Dun & Bradstreet (DNB), Teekay Offshore Partners (TOO), and Union Pacific (UNP). Listed below are the current components of the Appendix of companies with four straight years of higher dividends:

5/18 *

5/18 *

Company

Symbol

Price

Yield

Ex-Div

Altera Corp.

ALTR

48.05

0.5

8/6/10

Bancorp Rhode Island

BARI

43.53

1.8

11/15/10

Baxter International Inc.

BAX

60.26

2.1

12/8/10

Broadridge Financial

BR

22.48

2.7

9/13/10

Brookfield Infrastructure

BIP

24.23

5.1

2/24/11

Cablevision Systems

CVC

33.73

1.7

5/12/11

CMS Energy Corp.

CMS

20.16

4.2

11/3/10

Coca-Cola Enterprises

CCE

29.20

1.8

6/8/11

Comcast Corp. (1)

CMCSA

25.37

1.8

4/4/11

Covidien plc

COV

57.40

1.4

9/30/10

El Paso Pipeline Partners

EPB

34.31

5.4

1/28/11

Enbridge Energy Partners

EEP

30.34

6.7

8/3/10

Evercore Partners Inc.

EVR

35.93

2.0

11/23/10

Finish Line Inc.

FINL

21.85

0.9

2/21/11

Frisch's Restaurants

FRS

22.15

2.7

9/16/10

Goodrich Corp.

GR

91.32

1.3

11/29/10

Guess? Inc.

GES

43.26

1.9

12/6/10

Health Care REIT Inc.

HCN

51.49

5.6

5/6/11

Hubbell Inc. A (2)

HUB.A

61.50

2.5

4/11/11

Kaydon Corp.

KDN

37.42

2.0

9/9/10

Lazard Limited

LAZ

38.40

1.6

5/4/11

Lorillard Inc.

LO

112.90

4.7

2/25/11

National CineMedia Inc.

NCMI

16.72

4.8

11/16/10

Navios Maritime Partners

NMM

19.40

8.6

2/7/11

Northfield Bancorp Inc.

NFBK

13.58

1.8

5/9/11

NorthWestern Corp.

NWE

32.88

4.4

3/11/11

NV Energy Inc.

NVE

15.74

3.1

12/3/10

Quaker Chemical Corp.

KWR

41.43

2.4

7/13/11

Vanguard Natural Res.

VNR

28.99

7.7

2/3/2011

Western Gas Partners

WES

35.12

4.4

1/28/11

* Per Yahoo Finance

(1) Also CMCSK

(2) Also Class B


Expansion Continues

Since I only started listing companies with four-year streaks last fall, there are probably several others that will show up, either as additions to the Appendix or as new Challengers, once they announce a fifth year of higher dividends. Generally, that means any company that announced a third or fourth straight year of higher dividends during the middle of last year, so I anticipate a steady stream of replacements as these companies graduate to Challenger status.

As you can see, the up-and-comers include a wide variety of companies, ranging from restaurants and retailers to utilities and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and offering yields ranging from 0.5% to 8.6%. Although they don't have long streaks of dividend increases, it's clear that management at these companies is expressing confidence that their firms will be able to sustain strong enough earnings growth to support rising dividend payouts to shareholders. As always, I welcome suggestions in the comment section below.

Disclosure: I am long UNP.

Source: 30 Dividend Challengers of the (Near) Future