It doesn't take much for a company to raise distributions once in a while. In fact, even companies without a shareholder friendly dividend policy could occasionally afford to raise dividends. It is only companies with strong balance sheets and ability to generate excess scash flows that could not only maintain a solid dividend payment, but also afford to increase it consistently every year. As a result enterprising dividend investors should avoid companies that only sporadically
raise distributions, and instead follow companies that consistently raise them. I define a company as a consistent dividend payer, if it has raised distributions for over five years in a row. I typically however require a history of at least ten years
in a row of annual dividend increases, before initiating a position in a stock. I do this in order to avoid companies which have been able to raise distributions simply because they were in the right place at the right time, and not because they had any solid competitive advantages.
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Over the past week, the following consistent dividend payers raised distributions:
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP(BWP), through its subsidiaries, engages in the interstate transportation and storage of natural gas in the United States. This master limited partnership raised its quarterly distribution from 51 to 51.5 cents/unit. The company has raised distributions since going public in 2006. Yield: 6.10%
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Ecology and Environment, Inc. (EEI), an environmental consulting firm, provides professional services to the government and private sectors worldwide. The company raised its smi-annual dividend by 4.80% to 22 cents/share. The company has consistently raised dividends since 2006. Yield: 3.30%
NuStar Energy L.P. (NS) engages in the terminalling, storage, and transportation of petroleum products in the United States, the Netherland Antilles, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 1% to $1.075/share. This master limited partnership has consistently raised distributions since 2001. Yield: 6.80%
Holly Energy Partners, L.P.