Only 313 U.S. companies have increased sales every year for the
past decade. These are companies that have improved every year
since 1999 -- growing through three presidents and two bear
Some of the biggest names that have pulled off this financial
feat include Wal-Mart (
), Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Medtronic (
). Most of these companies don't pay enough in dividends -- or any
in Amazon.com's case -- to make the final cut for serious income
Thirteen of the 313 U.S. companies pay more than 6%.
)Energy10.0%$0.62$1.88Empire District Electric (
)REIT7.0%$1.02$1.70Wash Real Estate
)REIT6.3%$0.73$1.73Entertainment Prop. (
(Nasdaq: IRET)REIT8.1%$0.10$0.68Urstadt Biddle
)REIT6.6%$0.61$0.96One Liberty Prop.
)REIT9.2%$0.63$0.84First Real Estate
)Bank6.5%$1.09$1.04Amer. Church Mtg.
Even with a decade of stellar earnings growth behind it, this list
is full of landmines. American Church Mortgage Company's nearly 20%
yield, for example, isn't very secure. In the past 12 months, the
company has paid out more than twice what it has earned, making
this company's dividend endangered.
Several others are worse. IRET, SUI, EPR, WRE, PVR, and BPL all
paid out more than twice what they earned during the past twelve
Empire District Electric (
has paid out slightly more in dividends than it has earned during
the past 12 month, it's the winner in this category. A payout ratio
of 108%, in the short-term, isn't too concerning, especially when
it's a public utility monopoly that has the states it operates in
on its side.
The company is currently seeking rate increases in several of its
coverage areas that will help fill that gap. Earlier this month, it
filed a request with the Kansas Corporation Commission to hike
electricity rates in Kansas by nearly 25%. And at the end of
October, the company filed a request with the Missouri Public
Service Commission to hike electricity rates nearly 20%.
While customers won't be pleased with any hike, they'll have to
find a way to deal with them as there are few other prospects, none
of which are more agreeable than installing a wind turbine on the
Based in Joplin, Missouri, the Empire District Electric is a
century-old $661 million company that provides electricity, natural
gas, or water services to some 215,000 customers in Missouri,
Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Its seven power plants can produce
1,255 megawatts of power for the 121 cities it provides electricity
The company pays $0.32 per share quarterly for a total of $1.28
yearly. At current prices around $18, it equates to a yield of 7%.
It has maintained its dividend at this level since 1992 and has
continuously paid dividends since 1944.
This is not an exciting stock. With a beta of 0.76, it's
significantly less volatile than the S&P 500. But over the past
decade it has outperformed the S&P by +44 percentage points.
The company's next $0.32 per share dividend will be paid on
December 15, 2009 to holders of record as of December 1, 2009.
The company offers a dividend reinvestment program through Wells
Fargo Bank that provides a 3% discount to the three day average
trading price preceding the dividend payment date. For more
information on this program, call 800-468-9716 or visit this link.
Today, the company is attractively valued. It has a price to
earnings of 15.3, a price to book of 1.2, and five-year price to
earnings growth of 2.5. With a decade of steady sales growth, this
company is positioned to keep pushing out its dividend in nearly
Disclosure: Anthony Haddad does not own shares of any security
mentioned in this article.