We're nearing the end of 2014's second quarterly results season, but you'd hardly know things are winding down with the number of companies hiking their dividend payouts. By my tally, 27 did so last week, for an average of over five per day.
At this point, we could probably chuck a dart at a board full of stock names and hit a firm that has lifted its distribution. Here are a few notables that stand out even in this big crowd.
While not in the market's elite club of dividend aristocrats -- i.e., firms that have raised their dividends at least once per year for a minimum of 25 years in a row -- DuPont comes close. It has now paid a common stock distribution for nearly 110 years in a row and has raised it plenty since then.
And that payout is still going strong. The company just declared a distribution of $0.47 per share of its common stock, a $0.02 (or 4%) hike from the previous amount.
Despite a somewhat disappointing Q2, DuPont's ancient yet growing dividend looks safe at the moment. The company had over $4.1 billion in cash and equivalents at the end of the quarter -- more than enough to pay its various dividends (in addition to the common stock distribution, it also pays out on its preferred shares). The company's total payout in Q2 was $836 million.
DuPont's enhanced common stock dividend will be dispensed on Sept. 12 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 15. That $0.47 per share yields 2.9% at the current stock price.
TC PipeLines (NYSE:TCP)
Speaking of disappointments, TC PipeLines -- the master limited partnership controlled by energy giant TransCanada -- swung and missed twice in its recently announced Q2 results, coming up short in terms of both revenue and per-share net profit. Taking some of the sting out of this was the company's hiking of its cash distribution to $0.84 per unit from the preceding $0.81.
This is nothing new. TC PipeLines tends to lift that payout once every year or so, and it has done so habitually since the turn of this century. From that time, the distribution has nearly doubled from $0.45 to the current level.
Estimate-missing fundamentals aside, TC PipeLines has a solid business and operates in a hot segment (it's a transporter of natural gas). It's also been fairly cautious lately in terms of distribution coverage, paying out a total of $52 million from partnership cash flows of $77 million in Q2.
TC Pipelines will distribute the raised payout on Aug. 14 to holders of record as of Aug. 5. The dividend equates to a yield of 6.4% on the partnership's units.
Oiltanking Partners (UNKNOWN:OILT.DL)
In the current energy boom, there's plenty of business to go around for all types of MLPs. On the more liquid end of the segment is petroleum products storage specialist Oiltanking Partners. The partnership has been a stellar performer, with several quarters in a row of superb results. Among other sharply positive numbers, it pumped its net income 65% higher on a year-over-year basis in its Q1.
As a result of that sustained good performance, the partnership has managed to nearly double its distribution from the inaugural $0.2678 per unit it paid in late 2011. Last week Oiltanking Partners declared a payout of $0.26 per unit. This equals $0.52 if adjusted by a recent two-for-one unit split and is thus a 5% improvement over the previous distribution of $0.495.
The partnership looks set to continue its strong performance, and there's been plenty of dosh to go around -- Q1 distributable cash flow was 1.69 times higher than what it paid out to partners.
That $0.26 per unit is to be dispensed on Aug. 14 to holders of record as of Aug. 1. Due to the popularity of Oiltanking Partners' units, though, yield is comparatively low at 2.2%.