Any business that has navigated almost every environment imaginable while maintaining regular dividend increases is worth analyzing.
The table below contains a downloadable list of dividend kings with up-to-date dividend yields and Dividend Safety Scores™.
Below the table you'll find:
- Our 5 favorite dividend kings for long-term growth
- The difference between dividend kings and aristocrats
- Former dividend kings that cut their payouts
- Stocks set to become dividend kings later in 2023 and 2024
If you're looking for more stocks with impressive dividend histories, make sure to check out our analysis of the dividend aristocrats.
2023 Dividend Kings List
Dividend Kings Methodology
We calculate dividend growth streaks using a company's fiscal year, which can be the same as a calendar year or a different 12-month period.
As a result, our list of dividend kings includes Parker-Hannifin and Sysco, which both have fiscal years that end in June (rather than December).
Both of these businesses have had periods where their dividends per share were flat for two consecutive calendar years (2015-16 and 2003-04 for Parker-Hannifin and 1975-76 for Sysco), but their fiscal year streaks remained intact.
We also include Altria on our list. While Altria's headline dividend decreased in 2007-08 following the spin-offs of Kraft Foods and Philip Morris International, the aggregate dividend amount has continued rising.
Similarly, we give Abbott Laboratories credit for continuing its dividend streak after spinning off AbbVie in 2013 since the aggregate payout kept rising.
Dividend Kings by Sector
These industries are generally characterized by a fast pace of change or high cyclicality, which makes steady dividend growth harder to achieve.
Dividend kings are concentrated in more stable sectors, with industrials, consumer staples, and utilities accounting for around two-thirds of these impressive businesses.
Here's a look at every dividend king by sector and the number of consecutive years each has increased its dividend:
Why Some Dividend Kings Are Not Dividend Aristocrats
While dividend aristocrats have raised their payouts for at least 25 consecutive years, a benchmark met by every dividend king, they are also required to be members of the S&P 500 (and meet minimum market cap and liquidity standards).
Dividend kings do not have any requirements outside of maintaining a 50-plus-year dividend growth streak.
Therefore, smaller dividend kings are not aristocrats despite their similarly impressive track records of consistent dividend growth.
Nearly half of the dividend kings have a market cap below $10 billion despite being in business for over 50 years. In most cases, dividend kings are a model of stability and consistency rather than rapid or massive growth.
Not All Dividend Kings Survive
The list of kings has survivorship bias because investors only see the stocks that have continued raising their payouts every year.
The companies below used to be dividend kings. But each of them fell on hard times for one reason or another, culminating in dividend cuts.
- V.F. Corp, owner of The North Face and Vans brands, cut its dividend in 2023 after excess inventory and softening demand pressured margins, free cash flow, and balance sheet leverage.
- Diebold, a manufacturer of ATMs, ran into financial trouble after saddling its balance sheet with debt following a major acquisition. The firm slashed its dividend in 2016 to help its deleveraging efforts.
- Masco, a provider of home improvement building products, notched its 50th consecutive annual dividend raise in 2008. Less than a year later, the dividend was cut to preserve liquidity as the housing market tanked.
- Aon, an insurance broker, cut its dividend in 2002 to raise cash to service its rising debt and pension costs. The stock market's decline hurt the firm's pension investments and overall funding level.
- Winn-Dixie, a supermarket, faced stiff competition from Walmart. After freezing its dividend in 1999, the grocer cut its payout in response to continued market share pressures.
- Ohio Casualty, a property and casualty insurer, slashed its dividend in 2000 following a deterioration in underwriting profit due to previously aggressive premium growth, catastrophe losses, and restructuring charges.
The most reliable dividend kings maintain strong financial health, serve slow-changing end markets, and possess recession-resistant traits.
Let's take a look at some of our favorite kings that possess these qualities.
Top 5 Dividend Kings
Dividend King #5: H.B. Fuller
Dividend Yield: 1.2%
Dividend Safety Score: Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +7.9% in April 2023
Adhesives have been in use for more than 200,000 years, reflecting a slow pace of change and timeless need for H.B. Fuller's industry.
These products are used in almost every end market. And their capabilities continue advancing (e.g. stronger and more heat resistant), making adhesives an increasingly attractive substitute for heavier, bulkier mechanical fasteners.
Once H.B. Fuller's tailor-made glues are spec'd into a customer's product, the company enjoys repeat business as long as the product continues to be made.
Coupled with low capital intensity and a focus on more specialized areas of the adhesives market, H.B. Fuller generates predictable cash flow that has fueled annual dividend growth since 1969.
With a payout ratio below 30% and aspirations to deliver double-digit organic EBITDA growth over the long term, H.B. Fuller's dividend growth prospects remain bright as the firm continues gaining share in this fragmented industry.
Dividend King #4: Parker-Hannifin
Dividend Yield: 1.4%
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +11% in April 2023
Founded in 1917, Parker-Hannifin (PH) is a global industrial conglomerate specializing in motion control systems, including electromechanical, filtration, hydraulics, fluid handling, refrigeration, and pneumatic components such as valves, pumps, filters, and motors.
The company's revenue stream is highly diversified with over 500,000 customers, hundreds of thousands of individual parts, and clients in every major manufacturing, transportation, and processing industry.
Parker-Hannifin produces essential components and integrated systems tailored to a customer's specific needs. Cross-selling opportunities help expand these relationships over time since the firm has one of the broadest technology platforms in the market and a time-tested reputation.
The company enjoys high switching costs as well since many of its mission-critical parts are protected by patents or trade secrets and installed directly in a customer's factory.
This large installed base drives a sizable business providing high-margin replacement parts and maintenance, resulting in a steadier earnings stream compared to many industrial peers.
Looking ahead, Parker-Hannifin's diverse portfolio aligns with many secular growth themes, including clean technology, digital, and electrification.
Paired with operating in a large and fragmented market, a long history of making successful acquisitions, and a strong BBB+ rated balance sheet, Parker-Hannifin should remain one of the fastest-growing dividend kings.
Dividend King #3: PPG Industries
Dividend Yield: 1.9%
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +5% in July 2023
PPG Industries (PPG) was founded in 1883 and is a leading global supplier of paints and coatings used primarily in construction, industrial, automotive, marine, packaging, and aerospace markets.
Coatings can be thought of as heavy-duty paints that make products last longer and look more appealing. For example, they can protect construction infrastructure from harsh weather environments and make beverage cans more aesthetically pleasing.
PPG focuses on specialty products targeted at higher-value applications. For example, PPG's automotive coatings can be applied on various substrates including fiberglass, composites, and metallic surfaces for resistance to corrosion, chemicals, and rain erosion.
The durability and performance of its specialty products give PPG pricing power and leadership positions in most of its markets.
Coupled with a mostly variable cost structure and a high percentage of sales made to more stable aftermarket end-use markets, PPG generates excellent cash flow that has fueled over 100 years of uninterrupted dividend payments.
Looking ahead, PPG has a long runway for growth. The fragmented coatings market should expand with the global economy, and the company has a track record of making successful acquisitions that expand its product lines and global distribution network.
These qualities, along with a BBB+ rated balance sheet and conservative payout ratio below 50%, should support continued dividend growth as well.
Dividend King #2: Illinois Tool Works
Dividend Yield: 2.3%
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +7% in August 2023
Founded in 1912, Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is one of the world’s largest diversified manufacturers of industrial and consumer equipment and consumables balanced across the seven end markets pictured below.
Product examples include plastic and metal components used in cars, ovens and broilers purchased by restaurants, industrial adhesives and lubricants, six-pack rings used in beverage packaging, and lab testing equipment.
While other industrial conglomerates have had to streamline their sprawling product portfolios in response to lackluster growth and profitability, ITW has earned the right to remain a diversified company with best-in-class margins and consistent profit growth.
Coupled with low leverage and an A+ credit rating, ITW has grown its annual dividend every year since 1964. The payout seems likely to keep rising at a high-single digit rate with management targeting 9% to 10% annual EPS growth, too.
Overall, ITW is among the best-run industrial firms. The dividend king's unique culture and focus on mission-critical products in niche markets should help ITW stay relevant while continuing to deliver predictable dividend growth.
Dividend King #1: Nordson
Dividend Yield: 1.1%
Dividend Safety Score: Very Safe
Latest Dividend Increase: +4.6% in August 2023
Nordson (NDSN) was founded in 1954 and generates most of its revenue from products used to dispense, apply, and control adhesives, coatings, polymers, sealants, and other fluids and materials. Approximately two-thirds of sales take place outside the U.S.
Nordson's dispensing technologies help customers reduce consumption of materials, increase production line efficiency, and enhance product strength, reliability, and appearance.
Providing these timeless benefits and earning a trusted reputation over decades has helped Nordson build a sizable installed base with thousands of customers.
Many of the dividend king's solutions are installed at a customer's facility, creating switching costs as many customers are reluctant to retool production lines or lose access to Nordson's global sales and service capabilities, which few vendors can match.
As a result, nearly 60% of Nordson's business mix is now recurring revenue, parts, and consumables, such as tips, connectors, cartridges, valves, and tubing.
Coupled with a capital-light business model, this steady profit stream makes Nordson's cash flow recession-resistant, supporting predictable dividend growth in good times and bad.
Looking ahead, Nordson expects to deliver mid-single-digit organic sales growth, augmented by acquisitions that expand the firm's capabilities with a focus on Nordson's medical segment and test and inspection business.
The end result should be higher margins and double-digit earnings and dividend growth potential. While the stock's dividend yield is low, Nordson offers one of the best growth profiles of any dividend king.
The Next Dividend Kings
- RPM International (RPM): a BBB rated specialty chemicals business selling branded coatings, sealants, and building materials with mid-single-digit dividend growth.
- Fortis (FTS): the Canadian-based regulated electric and gas utility enjoys an A- credit rating and stable earnings stream, creating a mid-single-digit dividend growth profile.
- United Bankshares (UBSI): the regional bank focused on the Washington, D.C., area and surrounding states performed well during the 2007-09 financial crisis and remains a conservative operator, albeit with low-single digit dividend growth potential.
- S&P Global (SPGI): the asset-light provider of financial information services earns excellent margins, maintains low leverage, and has delivered consistent double-digit dividend growth.
Closing Thoughts on Dividend Kings
Many of these business generate consistent cash flow, maintain conservative balance sheets, and have shareholder-friendly management teams.
Investors considering dividend kings just have to be confident that the future remains as bright as the past for these time-tested dividend growth stocks.
By the way, many of the people interested in dividend kings are retirees looking to generate safe, growing income from dividend-paying stocks.
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