It’s no secret that investors love dividends. It is also no secret that dividends make a sizable contribution to investors’ total returns over time. What they really love is when companies have stable business models that can last through good times and bad times and that allow them to keep raising those dividends year after year. With the end of the last bear market now 10 years ago, and with markets having risen exponentially from the March 2009 bottom, investors need to consider how they want their assets positioned for the years ahead.
There is a group of companies named the Dividend Aristocrats. Its name implies that they are more than special, and that’s because to be in that group a company has to have raised its dividend for at least 25 consecutive years. There is an even more impressive group of companies that would qualify as an aristocrat — some companies have raised their dividends for 50 or more consecutive years.
It’s important to consider what a 50-plus year streak of dividend hikes really means in a big-picture view. Not only have these companies been able to raise dividends during the Great Recession and six recessions prior to that, but they have endured dividend hikes through more than 12 presidential election cycles, endured multiple changes of the balance of powers in Congress and endured many changes in the tax code. This also means they have endured hyper-inflation, threats of deflation, oil shocks, countless armed conflicts and acts of terrorism, an exit from the gold standard, inverted yield curves and so on.
24/7 Wall St. has screened companies with solid dividend and earnings histories, looked at the businesses and made sure that the hikes were confirmed as the annual streak by the companies themselves. We have first shown the number of years and the hike, and we also have shown when the most recent dividend hike was announced, as well as some additional color on each company’s business.
Here are 10 solid companies that have raised dividends for their investors for at least 50 consecutive years.
California Water Service
> Number of years: 52
> Yield: 1.5%
California Water Service Group (NYSE: CWT) has now raised its dividend for 52 consecutive years. It may have California and west coast regulatory risks in its locations, but water is by and large is considered to be recession-proof. This group of utility companies provides regulated and nonregulated water service to nearly 2 million people throughout California, Washington, New Mexico and Hawaii.
> Number of years: 57
> Yield: 3.5%
Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) has paid dividends for more years than most investors can count, as its launch pre-dates 1900. Coca-Cola has been gradually changing its business to not be dependent just on soda and sugar-water sales, and it can claim to have Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as its largest shareholder. The beverage giant last hiked its dividend on February 21, 2019, and the company said that was 57th consecutive annual dividend hike.
> Number of years: 63
> Yield: 2.1%
Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV) spans multiple industries for equipment and components, pumps, conveyors and other items used by manufacturers and goods-producing companies. Its dividend hike in August of 2018 marked the 63rd consecutive year of dividend hikes since its founding in 1947.