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Walgreens Boots Alliance Holds Steady on Its Dividend

By Eric Volkman - Apr 24, 2020 at 9:51AM

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The pharmacy chain operator usually raises its payout each summer. Will the coronavirus pandemic knock it out of the ranks of the Dividend Aristocrats?

The board of directors of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA 1.26%) has declared the latest in that company's very long line of dividends. The pharmacy chain operator will hand out slightly under $0.46 per share for its upcoming quarterly payout, matching its previous distribution.

Payment is to take place on June 12; shareholders of record as of May 20 will be eligible for the dividend. At the most recent closing price, it yields 4.2%.

Exterior of a Walgreens in Whitefish, Montana.

Image source: Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Walgreens is one of the most reliable dividend payers in the vast healthcare sector, having handed one out for nearly 90 consecutive years -- far longer than many of its peers have been in business.

Over the last 44 years, the company has raised the distribution at least once annually. That makes it a Dividend Aristocrat -- one of the few S&P 500 stocks that has increased its payout at least once per year for a minimum of 25 years running.

The company's last dividend boost came in July 2019, when it hiked the payout from $0.44 to the present level. It tends to institute its annual raises in the summer, so it's possible it will do so with the next announced dividend.

However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a serious slowdown in the retail sector, there is some question of whether the payout is sustainable. Even before the coronavirus spread across the world, Walgreens was struggling to meaningfully grow its business.

On Thursday, Walgreens stock rose by 0.4%, more or less in line with the broader equities market.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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