Friday, September 11, 2009

* The Dividend Freeze

As summer turns to fall and the heat begins to moderate, winter and its freezing temperatures are just around the corner. However, some companies have been frozen in place for the last year; more specifically, their dividends have been frozen at the same rate for more than a year.

A lot of press is given to companies cutting their dividends. In this spot we normally look at dividend increases. However, this week there were none. So let's look at some companies that have opted to neither raise nor cut their dividends, but instead freeze them at the current rate. Here are 13 select companies with 25 or more years of consecutive dividend increases that have not raised their dividends in the last 12 months:

American States Water (AWR)
This utility primarily serves water customers in California, as well as in Arizona. It also provides electric service to a small section of San Bernardino County.
Last Increase: 11/7/2007 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 54

Parker-Hannifin Corp. (PH)
This company is a global maker of industrial pumps, valves, and hydraulics. Its products are used in everything from jet engines to trucks and autos and utility turbines.
Last Increase: 8/21/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 52

Illinois Tool Works (ITW)
This diversified manufacturer operates a portfolio of about 750 industrial and consumer businesses located throughout the world.
Last Increase: 9/26/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 45

Tennant Company (TNC)
This company designs, manufactures, and markets cleaning solutions.
Last Increase: 2/27/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 37

Mine Safety Appliances (MSA)
This company develops, manufactures and supplies products that protect people's health and safety. Products include self-contained breathing apparatus and gas masks.
Last Increase: 5/21/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 37

Helmerich & Payne Inc. (HP)
This company offers contract drilling services for oil and gas wells in the United States and internationally.
Last Increase: 8/13/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 37

United Bankshares Inc. (UBSI)
This multi-bank holding company operates 114 full service offices inWest Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio andWashington, DC.
Last Increase: 12/12/2007 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 35

CenturyLink Inc. (CTL)
This telecom company has operations concentrated in rural markets in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. CTL acquired larger peer Embarq in a stock deal in July 2009.
Last Increase: 9/5/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 35

Gorman-Rupp Company (GRC)
This company manufactures pumps and related equipment for water, wastewater, construction, industrial, petroleum, fire protection, military and other liquid-handling applications.
Last Increase: 2/13/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 34

Chemical Financial (CHFC)
This holding company owns Chemical Bank, which provides commercial banking products and services through 129 banking offices, 141 ATMs and 2 loan production offices in Michigan.
Last Increase: 2/27/2008 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 34

Hershey Company (HSY)
Hershey is a major producer of chocolate or confectionery products.
Last Increase: 8/22/2007 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 33

Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI)
This company supplies building controls and energy management systems, automotive seating, and batteries.
Last Increase: 12/12/2007 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 33

M&T Bank Corp. (MTB)
This bank holding company for M&T Bank has offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia,West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, andWashington, DC.
Last Increase: 8/30/2007 - Years of Consecutive Increases: 27

Needless to say, each of the above companies' string of consecutive dividend increases is in jeopardy, and none of the stocks are on my current buy list. To the contrary, the ones I own are being closely monitored for a potential sell. Though this list might seem long, here is a much longer list of companies that have kept their streak alive.

Full Disclosure: Long CTL, ITW. See a list of all my income holdings here.

(Photo Quentin Houyoux)

Tags: [AWR] [CHFC] [CTL] [GRC] [HP] [HSY] [ITW] [JCI] [MSA] [MTB] [PH] [TNC] [UBSI]