Dividend Kings List – Companies with Annual Dividend Increases for Over 50 Years!

A reader has prompted me to update this post for 2021 (originally posted in 2016).

Investing in Dividend Kings (aka Dividend Aristocrats) may not be for everyone, but I am a fan.  I like the idea of receiving tax efficient payments from long-established companies with a track record of annually increasing their payments to shareholders.

I also like the idea of getting paid to wait. When the market crashes like it did during the covid-19 pandemic, almost all of my Canadian dividend growth stocks kept paying their dividend. My dividend portfolio value dropped briefly, but my cash was growing nonetheless. This is the true power of dividend growth investing – keeping you in the right long-term investment mindset.  As we head into 2021, my dividend aristocrat-heavy portfolio is actually up substantially from this time last year.

Top Canadian Dividend Pick for 2021: Enbridge (It’s not a sexy environmental infrastructure pick, but this diversified energy giant has proven its commitment to sustainable dividends, and is substantially undervalued as we head into the year.)

Dividend Aristocrats and Dividend Kings improve your portfolio performance

In fact, many studies (such as Vanguard) have proven that dividend growers are likely to outperform the market and do it with less volatility. Dividend growers such as the best Canadian dividend aristocrats will continue to increase their dividend in 2021.

Canadian companies with a long history of dividend growth will generally show a strong business model and robust financials. They have gone through many recessions and never stopped increasing dividend payments. In times of confusion and fear, you can go back and look at how companies went through the past crisis and kept their dividend streak alive. 

I use the dividend strategy for my leveraged portfolio, a significant portion of my RRSP, and our corporate portfolio.  We currently collect a little over $50,000/year in dividends and if you are interested, you can follow my dividend updates here. You can also view the best Canadian dividend stock picks for this year here.

In the past, I’ve written a number of articles on dividend growth stocks, I’ve never properly categorized them. Here are the most common dividend terms as they relate to the U.S. stock market:

  • Dividend Achiever is a company that has increased its dividend at least 10 years in a row;
  • A Dividend Contender is a traded company that has raised dividends for 10 to 24 consecutive years.
  • A Dividend Champion is a company that has increased its dividend at least 25 years in a row (regardless if it is part of the S&P 500 or not);
  • Dividend Aristocrat is a company that is part of the S&P 500 and that has increased its dividend at least 25 years in a row;
  • Dividend King is a company that has increased its dividend at least 50 years in a row.  The true cream of the crop.

Dividend Aristocrats and Dividend Kings in Canada

Here in Canada, we have a relatively small market and an even smaller list of quality dividend stocks.  In a previous article about the top Canadian dividend growth stocks, you will see a number of dividend achievers (10 years + ), a handful of dividend aristocrats (25 years +), but no dividend kings in Canada (although FTS (46) and CU (47) are getting close).

As of February 2021

CompanySymbolYears5 year avg Growth RatePayout RatioCurrent Yield
Canadian UtilitiesCU489.58%113.71%5.36%
Fortis Inc.FTS467.38%64.68%3.72%
Toromount Industries LtdTIH3012.47%37.07%1.32%
Canadian Western BankCWB286.72%44.05%3.75%
Atco LtdACO.X2613.49%73.23%4.51%
Thomson ReutersTRI263.54%38.63%1.97%
Empire Company LtdEMP.A255.92%20.49%1.41%
Imperial OilIMO2510.33%-148.46%3.82%
Metro IncMRU2515.27%27.72%1.12%
Canadian National RailwayCNR2416.09%47.10%1.64%
Enbridge IncENB2415.1%291.05%7.70%
Saputo IncSAP205.97%31.69%1.88%
TC Energy CorpTRP196.70%26.92%5.43%
Canadian National Resources LTDCNQ1910.76%-322.32%5.43%
CCL Industries IncCCL.B1825.32%25.95%1.21%
Transcontinental Inc.TCL.A186.84%40.22%4.65%
Finning International IncFTT183.54%63.81%3.02%
Ritchie Bros AuctioneersRBA1711.08%51.28%1.24%
TELUS CorpSU168.18%69.73%4.58%
Cogeco Communications Inc.CCA1613.25%23.56%2.35%
Telus CorporationT158.7%81.37%4.63%

Canadian Dividend Aristocrat Definition

While I used the terms dividend achievers and dividend aristocrats for the Canadian stock market  in the previous section, I must highlight that the official definition of the Canadian dividend aristocrat differs from the one established in the U.S.

In order to be considered as a S&P Canadian Dividend Aristocrat, the company must have increased its dividend payout every year for five years – Therefore, we are looking at stocks that have a good potential for raising its dividend but still pretty far away from 25 consecutive years.

Dividend Kings List

In a few years, we will be able to have a shortlist of Canadian dividend kings (including Fortis and Canadian Utilities). In the meantime, where do we find these elusive dividend kings? You’ll have to look at the biggest market in the world – the US!  In the US, there are 30 dividend kings that have increased their dividend at least 50 years in a row.  

Here is a table supplied by Dividend Stocks Rock:

TickerNameDividend YieldMarket Cap ($M)
JNJJohnson & Johnson2.96%$339,608
PGProcter & Gamble Co.2.48%$303,819
KOThe Coca-Cola Co.2.87%$235,652
MMM3M Co.3.55%$90,635
LOWLowe’s Cos., Inc.1.96%$83,948
CLColgate-Palmolive Co.2.32%$63,492
TGTTarget Corp.2.47%$54,406
EMREmerson Electric Co.3.29%$35,571
HRLHormel Foods Corp.1.97%$22,582
PHParker-Hannifin Corp.2.12%$20,458
SWKStanley Black & Decker, Inc.2.08%$19,774
CINFCincinnati Financial Corp.1.99%$18,147
DOVDover Corp.2.09%$13,203
GPCGenuine Parts Co.3.38%$12,943
FRTFederal Realty Investment Trust3.25%$9,679
NDSNNordson Corp.1.12%$7,657
CBSHCommerce Bancshares, Inc. (Missouri)1.82%$6,087
LANCLancaster Colony Corp.1.78%$3,934
AWRAmerican States Water Co.1.32%$3,366
California Water Service GroupCWT1.40%$2,686
ABMABM Industries, Inc.1.93%$2,427
TRTootsie Roll Industries, Inc.0.95%$2,400
ABMABM Industries, Inc.1.93%$2,427
TRTootsie Roll Industries, Inc.0.95%$2,400
NWNNorthwest Natural Holding Co.2.66%$2,148
SCLStepan Co.1.05%$2,140
SJWSJW Group1.76%$1,897
FMCBFarmers & Merchants Bancorp (California)1.81%$600

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Here is the same table sorted by yield:

TickerNameDividend YieldMarket Cap ($M)
MMM3M Co.3.55%$90,635
GPCGenuine Parts Co.3.38%$12,943
EMREmerson Electric Co.3.29%$35,571
FRTFederal Realty Investment Trust3.25%$9,679
JNJJohnson & Johnson2.96%$339,608
KOThe Coca-Cola Co.2.87%$235,652
NWNNorthwest Natural Holding Co.2.66%$2,148
PGProcter & Gamble Co.2.48%$303,819
TGTTarget Corp.2.47%$54,406
CLColgate-Palmolive Co.2.32%$63,492
PHParker-Hannifin Corp.2.12%$20,458
DOVDover Corp.2.09%$13,203
SWKStanley Black & Decker, Inc.2.08%$19,774
CINFCincinnati Financial Corp.1.99%$18,147
HRLHormel Foods Corp.1.97%$22,582
LOWLowe’s Cos., Inc.1.96%$83,948
ABMABM Industries, Inc.1.93%$2,427
CBSHCommerce Bancshares, Inc. (Missouri)1.82%$6,087
FMCBFarmers & Merchants Bancorp (California)1.81%$600
LANCLancaster Colony Corp.1.78%$3,934
SJWSJW Group1.76%$1,897
CWTCalifornia Water Service Group1.40%$2,686
AWRAmerican States Water Co.1.32%$3,366
NDSNNordson Corp.1.12%$7,657
SCLStepan Co.1.05%$2,140
TRTootsie Roll Industries, Inc.0.95%$2,400

As you can see from the list, some of these names are very recognizable with global brand awareness and long term competitive advantage.  Names such as Procter & Gamble, Coke, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Colgate, and Lowe’s.

You will also notice that most of them show a low dividend yield. From this list, only Altria (MO) shows a yield over 5% (~8.78%). The dividend king average yield is 2.74% with an average dividend growth of 6.50%. This shows you that one must pay for the quality. Finally, most dividend growers will not only reward shareholders with dividend increases, but also with steady capital appreciation.

As a disclaimer, I hold the following dividend kings within my RRSP: Procter & Gamble; 3M; Emerson Electric; Coca-Cola; Target; and, Johnson & Johnson.  Also, this post is not meant to provide recommendations for your portfolio, but a starting point for your research.

If you are interested in dividend investing, here is More Dividend Stock Investing Info:

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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Grizzly Gramps
1 year ago

I have a question – as a rookie investor wannabe:

• HOW does one reliably MEASURE the true ROI, (for use at retirement)? What is the meaning of the varying terminology?

• ONE eg.: saw a company with 2% “yield”, 82% gain. What does that mean, in REAL terms?

How does one decide?

Per $100K invested? What is the useful/usable monthly return, at retirement?

Also,
What is the taxation rate at that time, (how is it calculated), when cashed out?

How can one preserve the principal, and still live off the investment?

What is the minimum investment required to capture RELIABLE annual dividend income of $35K + CPI?

Maxwell
1 year ago

When looking at the CDN list, I see immediately the top stock CU. The earnings don’t cover the dividend.. That would be a concern going forward and one should research this a little deeper.

Same goes with the other stocks that don’t cover their dividends with earnings.

DivInvestor
1 year ago

This is an interesting list for dividend increases and tells you a lot about the quality of the companies. I invest in dividend paying companies but put more emphasis on how long they have been paying and total return. For an example during the last recession in 2008 the CDN banks didn’t increase but also didn’t cut their dividends. The best thing I did was hold on to all my investments and ride it out and the results have been very good. (see my blog at dividend-café.com)

GYM
1 year ago

Tootsie Rolls! Who would have thought! Thanks for sharing this list :)

Altria $MO recently might be considered a Dividend King though it might not technically qualify.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/altria-investment-royalty-50th-straight-233100137.html

Jenn
1 year ago

Hello, How do you invest in US Dividend stocks in your canadian investment accounts? When you purchase the US stock, are the canadian funds converted into USD?

Mr Fundamental
1 year ago

Great article! I do like the idea of investing in companies with histories of increasing dividends. This is why I have invested in MCD, AFL, WMT. McDonald’s has increased its dividend every year since 1976!
However, I think sometimes people get too enamored with dividend yield/increases, and fail to consider TOTAL RETURN. That is what really matters, and that is why I’ve shifted most of my additional investments over the years into low-cost index investing (VTI is my favourite). I think index investing is the easiest path to maximizing total return over the long run. Do you agree?

Cheers,
Mr Fundamental

Dividend Earner
4 years ago

The US definitely has bigger companies with stronger history of providing returns to investors.

Be careful with the Dividend Aristocrats definition as Canada has one defined by Standard & Poor and it’s adjusted to the Canadian market and requires 5 year of dividend increases with some other rules. The iShare Canadian Dividend Aristocrats follows that rule

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer a 10 year minimum so Dividend Achievers is where I start.

Peter
4 years ago

you fail to mentioned anything about DRIPPing the dividend payments. Both broker DRIPS (no partial DRIP or shares) to company DRIP (partial shares allowed but you might have to pay about $50 to do this)

cannew
4 years ago

Certainly dividend increases is important, very important, but one should not get obsessed with insisting on an increase each and every year. I’m retired and 100% invested in DG stocks. But I found there are three keys:
1. They must pay a dividend, have paid one for many, many years
2. They must grow the dividend, say 7 of last 10 or 11 of last 15
3. The price one pays can greatly increase yield and is often obtained when markets drop and a company does not increase their dividend (as with Cdn banks during 2009/2011).
4. Hold, hold, hold and add to ones position.