These 3 Big Companies Just Raised Their Dividends

Following a lull in the opening days of this month, last week was a strong one for dividend raises. By my count, no fewer than 13 publicly traded companies hiked their distributions. There were more than a few heavy hitters among that group. Here's a look at a trio of them.

The biggest rise out of our three selections is sturdy engineering company Cummins (NYSE: CMI  ) , which hiked its payout by nearly 25% to $0.78 per share. The firm also refreshed its $1 billion stock repurchase program, which will renew at the same amount once the current initiative expires.

It has plenty of reason to be optimistic. Its most recently reported quarter was a good one, with revenue climbing 12% to $4.4 billion year over year and attributable net profit improving 20% to $338 million. 

Still better, Cummins is predicting that sales, at least, will continue to move north. The company is forecasting annual growth of 6% to 10% for the entirety of fiscal 2014. 

Meanwhile, at the end of said quarter, it had just over $2.3 billion in cash and short-term investments -- more than enough to pay the roughly $143 million bill for that fattened dividend and a good chunk of those share buybacks.

Cummins' new distribution will be paid on Sept. 2 to shareholders of record as of August 22. It equates to a yield of just over 2% at the current stock price.

Saying that "a compelling dividend remains a top priority for our company," oil multinational ConocoPhillips  (NYSE: COP  ) has backed up its words with a 6% lift in its payout to $0.73 per share.

This is the firm's second increase in as many years, following the spinoff of its downstream operations into a separate, publicly traded company in May 2012. 

Since then, the latter firm has more than doubled its dividend, from a debut payout of $0.20 per share to the upcoming $0.50. ConocoPhillips buy-and-holders, then, have made out pretty well in the recent past.

The mother company is a massive enterprise, and as you'd expect ConocoPhillips has a lot of cash and equivalents on hand. $7.7 billion of the stuff, to be exact, as of the end of its Q1. The upcoming dividend payout, meanwhile, will total a shade less than $900 million quarterly. As such, we can expect the ConocoPhillips dividend well to keep pumping out for shareholders.

The firm will hand out its increased distribution on September 2 to holders of record as of July 21. At the moment, said distribution yields 3.4% at ConocoPhillips' current share price.

Enterprise Products Partners
In terms of dividend raising frequency, the above two companies have nothing on Enterprise Products Partners  (NYSE: EPD  ) . The midstream energy partnership last week pulled the trigger on its 40th increase in a row.

The partnership manages to keep this up through incremental hikes of $0.01 per unit or so every quarter. This is the amount of the latest increase, with Enterprise now on the hook for $0.72 per unit. 

The partnership is managing to improve its financials more than many expected. Enterprise's Q1 net trounced analyst estimates, rising 6% on a year-over-year basis to hit almost $800 million for an EPS of $0.85 per unit, against the average expectation of $0.75. Revenue advanced more energetically, growing by 13% to $12.9 billion. 

Topping both line items in terms of growth was perhaps the most important one of all for the partnership's income-loving unit holders -- distributable cash flow. This rose by 19% to $1.07 billion. So Enterprise should have no problem covering a dividend hike that's barely over 1%. And considering the way its fundamentals are improving, we can probably count on that payout continuing its steady rise.

Enterprise's upcoming distribution will be paid on Aug. 7 to unit holders of record as of July 31. That $0.72 per share yields 3.7%.

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Eric Volkman

Eric has been writing about stocks and finance since the mid-1990s, when he lived in Prague, Czech Republic. Over the course of a varied career, he has also been a radio newscaster, an investment banker, and a bass player in a selection of rock and roll bands. A native New Yorker, he currently lives in Los Angeles.

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Related Tickers

8/28/2015 4:03 PM
CMI $122.27 Down -0.33 -0.27%
Cummins CAPS Rating: *****
COP $46.82 Up +0.95 +2.07%
ConocoPhillips CAPS Rating: *****
EPD $28.62 Up +0.16 +0.56%
Enterprise Product… CAPS Rating: *****