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Centrica is best known as the owner of British Gas, the U.K.'s leading energy-supplier. However, the group's businesses cover all levels of the energy chain from exploration to after-supply services, and the company also operates in the U.S.
Centrica has just told us the company has "performed well" in the year to date and earnings growth for the full year is expected to be in line with market expectations. The City consensus is for a mid-single-digit rise in earnings and dividends this year and next. At a recent share price of 380 pence, Centrica offers investors a prospective dividend income of about 4.6% for 2013.
British American Tobacco
Top FTSE 100 tobacco group British American Tobacco continues to benefit from its global reach, with the company's exposure to emerging markets being a strong driver of growth. The owner of a large stable of brands including Lucky Strike, Kent, and Pall Mall told us last month that the company has gotten off to a good start in 2013 and is confident of another year of earnings growth.
Analysts are expecting BAT's earnings and dividend to rise about 10% a year this year and next. The current share price of 3,745 pence offers investors a prospective dividend income of about 4% for 2013.
Knorr soups and stock cubes, Surf detergents, and Dove beauty products are just three of more than 400 brands owned by food and household-goods giant Unilever. The company was an early entrant into emerging markets and today generates 57% of its sales from these economies -- a level of exposure few other Western companies can match.
Unilever announced its first-quarter results last month, reporting continuing "good growth momentum" in the business. Management said overall core sales were up about 5%, with emerging-markets growth in the double digits for an eighth consecutive quarter.
The company lifted its first-quarter dividend by 10.7% to 0.269 euros, implying a 1.076 euro payout for the full year. On a sterling basis, at a recent share price of 2,774 pence, the prospective yield is 3.2%.
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