One of the most gratifying things about compiling the Dividend Champions spreadsheet is witnessing the steady stream of dividend increases, which are announced throughout the year, in wave after wave, by the Champions, Contenders, and Challengers.

Please note that all references to Champions mean companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years; Contenders have streaks of 10-24 years; Challengers have streaks of 5-9 years. “CCC” refers to the universe of Champions, Contenders, and Challengers.

Here’s a small sampling of upcoming dividend increases that have already been declared:

No.Yrs=Consecutive years of higher dividends; MR=Most Recent; DGR=Dividend Growth Rate;
*Offers Company-sponsored Dividend Reinvestment/Stock Purchase Plan. Unlike brokerage “DRIPs,” these allow cash investments of as little as $25. For a list of No-fee company-sponsored DRIPs, click here.

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So what could be better than a steady stream of dividend increases?

How about knowing ahead of time which companies are going to increase their dividends soon?

Fortunately, the vast majority of CCC companies have a habit of announcing dividend hikes about the same time each year.

So it’s no stretch of the imagination to suggest that most of these companies can be expected to repeat this annual phenomenon.

With that in mind, here are the next group of companies that should boost their payouts, based on last year’s dates:

It’s fair to ask how accurate this predictability really is. Well, as of this writing, there are 470 CCC companies and only 28 that are considered “overdue” (having gone more than a year since their last increase).

There were also 40 deletions in the past year, of which 9 were acquired or reorganized, and four subsequently increased their dividends, leaving 27 “failures.”

So there were 55 “misses” (of which 15 deletions were dividend “freezes” that may only be temporary).

That means a “success” rate of almost 90% (442/497, or 88.9%), which I think is worthy of some confidence, especially when you consider that there are also 108 “Near-Challengers” (companies with 4-year streaks of increases) that are poised to expand the CCC universe to well over 500 companies in the next 12 months.

— David Fish