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In compiling the Dividend Champions list I get to see what companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Since most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, I can say with some confidence that they are likely to do so again.

Activity Picking Up

In recent articles in this series, I mentioned that we had passed the very slowest period of increases during the year in terms of declarations, and that the number of approaching dividend increases seemed to be picking up. Of the 51 companies listed in my July 26 article, 19 announced increases and only one plans to pay the same amount for a fifth quarter, so the majority will be carried over here, joined by companies with Ex-Dividend Dates in early- to mid-October.

Notable increases included Year 56 by Dover Corp. (DOV), the 48th year of higher dividends by Illinois Tool Works (ITW), and the 25th year of increases by Harleysville Group (HGIC), making it the newest Champion.

(Click chart to enlarge)


Also, about two dozen MLPs (Master Limited Partnerships) increased their payouts, which they tend to do each quarter. That phenomenon should be repeated again in late October and early November.

Based on last year's announcements, I'm expecting the following companies to announce dividend increases between now and the anniversary of their previous increase:

Dividend Champions (25 or more years):



No.

7/29


Qtrly

LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

Nordson Corp.

NDSN

47

51.03

0.82

0.1050

10.53

8/27/10

MGE Energy Inc.

MGEE

34

41.08

3.65

0.3751

1.82

8/30/10

Altria Group Inc.

MO

42

26.30

5.78

0.3800

8.57

9/13/10

Cincinnati Financial

CINF

50

27.33

5.85

0.4000

1.27

9/20/10

Brady Corp.

BRC

25

29.60

2.43

0.1800

2.86

10/6/10

Clarcor Inc.

CLC

46

44.06

0.95

0.1050

7.69

10/6/10

RPM International Inc.

RPM

37

21.08

3.98

0.2100

2.44

10/14/10

Dividend Contenders (10-24 years):



No.

7/29


Qtrly

LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

Badger Meter Inc.

BMI

18

36.49

1.53

0.1400

16.67

8/27/10

First Capital Inc.

FCAP

10

17.03

4.46

0.1900

5.56

9/14/10

Vector Group Ltd.

VGR

13

17.51

9.14

0.4000

5.00

9/14/10

BancFirst Corp. OK

BANF

17

38.14

2.62

0.2500

8.70

9/28/10

Corporate Office Properties

OFC

13

31.07

5.31

0.4125

5.10

9/28/10

Getty Realty Corp.

GTY

11

23.20

8.28

0.4800

1.05

9/28/10

HCC Insurance Holdings

HCC

14

30.13

1.92

0.1450

7.41

9/29/10

Atlantic Tele Network Inc.

ATNI

13

37.77

2.33

0.2200

10.00

10/4/10

Citizens Financial Services

OTCQB:CZFS

12

40.00

2.60

0.2600

1.96

10/13/10

West Pharmaceutical Serv.

WST

18

43.87

1.55

0.1700

6.25

10/18/10

Infosys Technologies Ltd

INFY

14

62.22

0.91

0.2827

16.56

10/19/10

Dividend Challengers (5-9 years):



No.

7/29


Qtrly

LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

Delta Natural Gas

DGAS

6

32.55

4.18

0.3400

4.62

8/27/10

ITC Holdings Corp.

ITC

6

70.26

1.91

0.3350

4.69

8/30/10

Westlake Chemical Corp.

WLK

7

51.75

0.49

0.0635

10.43

8/30/10

Bob Evans Farms

BOBE

5

34.54

2.32

0.2000

11.11

9/3/10

Harris Corp.

HRS

9

39.87

2.51

0.2500

13.64

9/6/10

BHP Billiton Ltd.

BHP

8

91.55

1.90

0.8700

6.10

9/8/10

BHP Billiton plc

BBL

8

75.15

2.32

0.8700

6.10

9/8/10

Shire plc

SHPGY

7

104.00

0.33

0.1730

16.50

9/8/10

Atrion Corp.

ATRI

8

199.10

0.84

0.4200

16.67

9/13/10

China Mobile Limited

CHL

5

49.83

3.71

0.9250

4.28

9/13/10

G&K Services Inc.

GKSR

5

34.07

1.12

0.0950

26.67

9/14/10

Alliance Financial Corp.

ALNC

5

32.21

3.73

0.3000

7.14

9/15/10

National Semiconductor

NSM

6

24.72

1.62

0.1000

25.00

9/16/10

Nippon Tel. & Tel.

NTT

9

24.74

2.80

0.3459

10.72

9/27/10

NTT DoCoMo Inc.

DCM

9

18.54

3.21

0.2973

9.93

9/27/10

Acme United Corp.

ACU

7

10.10

2.38

0.0600

20.00

9/29/10

Sanderson Farms Inc.

SAFM

9

46.22

1.47

0.1700

13.33

10/1/10

Verizon Communications

VZ

6

35.29

5.53

0.4875

2.63

10/6/10

Accenture plc

ACN

5

59.14

1.39

0.4125

10.00

10/13/10

American Financial Group

AFG

5

33.98

1.91

0.1625

18.18

10/13/10

Cracker Barrel Old Country

CBRL

8

45.11

1.95

0.2200

10.00

10/13/10

Senior Housing Properties

SNH

7

23.94

6.18

0.3700

2.78

10/13/10

Smith & Nephew plc

SNN

5

52.99

1.41

0.3735

10.01

10/13/10

Yum! Brands Inc.

YUM

7

52.82

1.89

0.2500

19.05

10/13/10

In addition, I anticipate that three companies in the Appendix (on the Note tab) will boost their dividends during this period, marking their fifth straight year of increases and promoting them to Challenger status:

Company

Symbol

Ex-Div

Broadridge Financial Sol.

BR

9/13/10

Frisch's Restaurants Inc.

FRS

9/16/10

Covidien plc

COV

9/30/10

Not all of the above companies will meet the strict standards of every investor, but some may be appropriate for portfolio diversification. Potential investors should do more research before committing funds.

Disclosure: I am long DOV ITW MO RPM YUM

Source: 45 Dividend Increases Expected in the Next 10 Weeks