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.

(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.

[ad#Google Adsense 336×280-IA]“CCC” refers to the universe of Champions, Contenders, and Challengers.)

The companies below now qualify as Dividend Challengers because 2014 marks their fifth year of higher dividends.

Many Dividend Growth investors focus on companies that are just beginning their dividend-growth streaks, reasoning that they have more potential for future increases.

Here are the latest companies to qualify:

MR=Most Recent; DGR=Dividend Growth Rate

High Probability Increases
The repeatability factor for CCC dividend increases is about 90%, which inspires some confidence. Keep in mind, though, that the companies above are just reaching a fifth year of increases, so they haven’t yet established as strong a dividend-increasing “culture” and might be more inclined to cut or freeze the payout during recessions. Additional caution may be advisable for foreign firms that trade as ADRs (American Depository Receipts), which may pay distributions that are not taxed the same as “normal” dividends.

Here’s a list of 37 more companies that are likely to declare the fifth year of increases by the end of March:

Ex-Div Date refers to previous increase; *Offers Company-sponsored Dividend Reinvestment/Stock Purchase Plan. Unlike brokerage “DRIPs,” these allow cash investments of as little as $25. A list of No-fee company-sponsored DRIPs can be found here. (a)American Depository Receipt

Note that Time Warner Cable is currently the subject of takeover efforts, so it may not continue to raise its payout.

— David Fish