While the ASX has many great dividend shares, not one can call itself an aristocrat. But Washington H. Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL) is close.
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Over in the United States share markets, there exists a group of characterisations that is rather interesting. Especially for a dividend-loving nation like ourselves. On US markets, a small and select group of companies enjoy the title of ‘dividend aristocrats’. An even smaller and more select group are entitled to crown themselves ‘dividend kings’.
If you haven’t heard these terms before, I wouldn’t blame you. We don’t have any companies on the ASX that can claim such a title. Let alone a crown.
That’s because a dividend aristocrat is named for having a 25-year history of not only paying an uninterrupted stream of dividends, but increasing said dividend every year. If you miss a year, you’re out of the club, and you have to start the clock again. For dividend kings, the streak must hit 50 years of steady dividend increases.
The US has dozens and dozens of dividend aristocrats, such as Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT), AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX). It even has more than 30 dividend kings, including famous name like Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO), Altria Group Inc (NYSE: MO), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and 3M Company (NYSE: MMM).
But the ASX has exactly zero dividend aristocrats. And forget about the kings.
The ASX’s only hope for a dividend aristocrat?
We do have one company that stands out above the rest though. That company is Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Co Ltd (ASX: SOL). There are a few ASX dividend shares with stellar dividend records. Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) is one. Brickworks Ltd (ASX: BKW) is another. But Ramsay broke a 20-year streak last year in the face of the pandemic. And Brickworks reset its clock back in 2012 when it didn’t increase its dividend.
Soul Patts, on the other hand, has increased its dividend every single year since the year 2000. That’s 20 out of 25 years. And this week, it confirmed it’s staying on track. Soul Patts announced an interim dividend of 26 cents per share to be paid on 14 May. That’s a 4% increase from 2020’s interim payout of 25 cents.
If it delivers a final dividend of 36 cents or higher later in the year, it will hit 21 years of annual dividend increases. It’s a pretty impressive track record when you consider that period includes both the global financial crisis and the pandemic. No wonder the Soul Patts share price hit an all-time high this week.
Another four years and we might have our own ASX dividend aristocrat!
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Sebastian Bowen owns shares of 3M, Altria Group, AT&T, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Ramsay Health Care Limited, and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. recommends 3M and Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Brickworks and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Ramsay Health Care Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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