Dividend growth investing can be one of the most powerful and effective strategies for superior returns. Thanks to their extraordinary brand power, companies such as PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)are among the most remarkable dividend names in the market, and this says a lot about their potential for gains in the long term.
Dividend aristocrats are companies that have been able to increase their dividends over 25 uninterrupted years or more. Only 54 companies are currently included in the S&P Dividend Aristocrats Index, and PepsiCo is one of them. In fact, PepsiCo has a delicious track record of 42 consecutive dividend increases, including a hearty15% dividend increase announced in February.
PepsiCo has distributed more than $60 billion to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases over the past 10 years, and management plans to return $8.7 billion in buybacks and dividends during 2014, a 35% increase from 2013.
Its ubiquitous presence and an enormously valuable portfolio of brands make PepsiCo a global leader in the snacks and soft drinks industry. The company owns 22 brands making more than $1 billion in annual global revenues each, including notable names such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Tropicana, Lay's, Doritos, and Quaker, among many others.
In addition to brand power, PepsiCo enjoys considerable competitive strengths in areas such as economic scale and global distribution network. Besides, the company has abundant financial resources to invest in marketing and advertising.
The trend toward healthier eating and drinking habits represents an important challenge to watch in the medium term, but PepsiCo is actively developing new products and brands to satisfy the always-evolving needs and tastes of global consumers.
The company pays a dividend yield of 3% at current prices, not bad at all for such a solid dividend juggernaut. The dividend payout ratio is at a sustainable level of 58% given average earnings estimates for 2014.
Colgate-Palmolive makes investors smile
Colgate-Palmolive is the undisputed global leader in oral care. According to management estimates, the company owns a global market share of 44.8% in toothpastes, 32.9% in manual toothbrushes, and 38.8% in mouthwashes around the planet.
Colgate-Palmolive does business in more than 200 countries and produces more than 75% of sales in international markets, which provides geographical diversification and opportunities for growth in emerging markets.
When compared against other big and stable consumer names with solid trajectories of dividend growth, Colgate-Palmolive is generating relatively attractive growth rates for a company operating in a mature industry. Total sales volume increased by 5% during the first quarter of 2014, while prices increased by 1.5% for a total increase of 6.5% in organic sales excluding currency fluctuations during the quarter.
Colgate-Palmolive has delivered consistently growing dividends for 51 years in a row, including a 6% dividend increase announced in March. The payout ratio is quite low, in the area of 50% when compared with earnings forecasts for 2014, and Colgate-Palmolive pays a dividend yield of 2.2%.
Procter & Gamble stands the test of time
Procter & Gamble was incorporated in 1890, and it has successfully gone through all kinds of economic and political situations since then, including the ups and downs of the business cycle, wars, and disasters of different scales all over the world.
Procter & Gamble owns 25 brands generating over $1 billion in global revenues, and it serves nearly 4.8 billion customers in more than 180 countries.
A leading market position in different stable and defensive product categories has allowed Procter & Gamble to build a rock-solid trajectory of dividend payments. The company has paid uninterrupted dividends for 124 consecutive years, and it has raised distributions for 58 years in a row.
The dividend yield near 3.1% is quite attractive for such a strong company with an immaculate track record of dividend payments, and the payout ratio is reasonable at nearly 61% of earnings estimates for 2014.
Dividends don't only provide income for investors, but they are also a reflection of a company's fundamental soundness and competitive strengths. PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive, and Procter & Gamble benefit from tremendous brand power, so it's no wonder they're among the most extraordinary dividend growth companies in the market.
Andrés Cardenal has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble and owns shares of PepsiCo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.