9 Companies Likely to Boost Dividends in October

by: David Fish

One nice thing about compiling the Dividend Champions list of companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years (which can be found here) is that I get to see which companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Since most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, we can say with some confidence that they are likely to do so again.

Consequently, I'm expecting the following companies to announce dividend increases in the month of October. (Dates in parentheses are the Ex-Dividend Dates of last year's increases).

Clarcor Inc. (NYSE:CLC) (10/7/09) Clarcor increased its quarterly dividend 8.33% last year, from 9¢ to 9.75¢ per share, marking the 45th straight year of increases. Over the previous five years, it had increased its payout by a Compound Growth Rate of 7.9%, and by 4.9% over the previous ten years. The yield at August 31 was 1.16%.

RPM International (NYSE:RPM) (10/15/09) Logging its 36th consecutive year of higher dividends, RPM increased its quarterly dividend by 2.5%, from 20¢ to 20.5¢ per share. Its 5- and 10-year DGRs (Dividend Growth Rates) were 7.1% and 5.4%, respectively. The yield at August 31 was 4.85%.

Eaton Vance (NYSE:EV) (10/28/09) EV increased its payout for the 29th straight year by boosting the quarterly dividend by 3.23%, from 15.5¢ to 16¢ per share. The DGR of its previous 5- and 10-year increases were 17.8% and 22.8%, respectively. The August 31 yield was 2.46%.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) (10/28/09) This Upper Midwest utility boosted its quarterly payout last year by 5.06%, from 39.5¢ to 41.5¢ per share, which provided a 3.65% yield at August 31. Its 5- and 10-year DGRs were 4.2% and 2.7%, respectively. NWN has paid higher dividends for 54 consecutive years.

In addition to these four Champions, three Contenders (10-24 years) would typically increase their dividends in October:

Atlantic Tele Network Inc. (NASDAQ:ATNI) (10/1/09) ATNI boosted its quarterly payout by 11.11%, from 18¢ to 20¢ per share, marking the 12th straight year of increases. The yield at August 31 was 1.88% and the company's 5- and 10-year DGRs were 12.5% and 11.9%, respectively.

West Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE:WST) (10/19/09) West raised its quarterly dividend by 6.67%, from 15¢ to 16¢ per share, its 17th straight annual increase. The yield at August 31 was 1.90%. West's 5- and 10-year DGRs were 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively.

Matthews International (NASDAQ:MATW) (10/29/09) Matthews hiked its quarterly dividend by 7.69%, from 6.5¢ to 7¢ per share, its 15th straight annual increase. Its 5-year DGR was 9.9% and its 10-year DGR was 11.2%, whereas its August 31 yield was 0.89%.

There are also two Challengers (5-9 years) that are likely to boost their payouts in October (and have not already done so, like four of their peers):

Accenture plc (NYSE:ACN) (10/14/09) This British firm increased its annual dividend to 75¢ per share last year (for an August 31 yield of 2.05%), marking five years of higher payouts.

Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC) (10/29/09) This West Coast bank holding company pays 60¢ per share annually, for an August 31 yield of 1.91%, following its 6th year of increases.

Obviously, not all of these companies meet the strict yield or percentage increase standards of some investors, but they may be appropriate for portfolio diversification. As always, potential investors should do due diligence before committing funds.

Disclosure: Author owns RPM