3 Dividend Champions That Have Raised Their Payouts Every Year Since 2000 (or Earlier!)

Stocks that pay a continuously growing dividend are often known as dividend champions. On this list of dividend champions I’ll be looking at, there’s an assortment of companies that have impressively increased their distributions on an annual basis for the last 25 years or more.

If these companies sound like dependable investments, that’s because they are. Investors seeking a steady passive income stream ought to consider the stocks on this list. 

Many of these companies are household names that have been around for generations, and there’s also a fair percentage of flat-out boring industrial stocks. While these businesses may not be trendy, they provide consistent returns, which is the most important consideration for any long-term investor at the end of the day. 

Coca-Cola (KO) 

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Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is perpetually on most lists of stocks to buy, for good reason. It remains one of the most recognizable brands globally, continues to grow, is very reliable, and pays investors a reliable dividend to own its shares.

Coca-Cola has been performing well, despite inflationary concerns that have hurt many of its consumer discretionary peers. Consumers continue to spend on affordable luxuries, such as snacks. Fortunately, this sentiment has also filtered through to include soft drinks. So long as this environment continues (and I don’t see why it would come to an end), Coca-Cola remains a top dividend stock for long-term investors to buy right now.

Additionally, Coca-Cola’s financials reflect strong past performance, and the likelihood of continued strength moving forward. Sales increased by 6% to $12 billion in the second quarter. Earnings per share jumped by 34% to $0.59, with the company’s cash flow seeing a similar boost higher. Indeed, it’s important to consider the fact that Coca-Cola managed to do so well even though volumes were flat. Thus, it’s clear that the company is able to push higher prices onto consumers while also absorbing higher costs and increasing earnings. This sort of pricing power is another reason to love KO stock as a dividend holding for the long0-term.

Leggett & Platt (LEG) 

Back View of the Head of the Project Holds Laptop and Discussing Product Details with Chief Engineer while They Walk Through Modern Factory., FR rents out these spaces in the U.S.

Source: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) is a very diversified firm within the industrial sector. The company provides bedding, furniture, hydraulic cylinders, aerospace tubing, and flooring textiles, and has been in business for more than 140 years. 

Despite its age, Leggett & Platt continues to grow its sales at an impressive 8% clip, at least during its second quarter. However, the news isn’t all good regarding Leggett & Platt. The company’s earnings per share did fall by 30 cents to 40 cents in Q2 on a year-over-year basis. Further, the firm lowered its sales and earnings  uidance for the remainder of 2023. 

That logically begs the question of why investors should then consider LEG shares. The answer lies in the company’s dividend, which yields 6.1% currently. This yield has been boosted by a share price which is at a near-decade low. Thus, with Leggett projected to grow this year and next, I view this low stock price as a strong entry point. This is a stock to buy for the income now, and sell later for the capital appreciation upside.

Universal Corp. (UVV) 

A photo of various food packaging containers.

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Universal Corp. (NYSE:UVV) stock is very similar to Leggett & Platt. Both firms offer a dividend yielding more than 6%, and both firms are trading at prices similar to where they were 10 years ago. 

Universal is also growing. In fact, Universal’s sales increased by 20% to $517.7 million in the second quarter. The company sells tobacco leaf and plant-based ingredients for use in the manufacturing of human and pet food. Tobacco sales accounted for $444 million of Universal’s $517.7 in Q2 sales, which grew a whopping 28% during the period. 

The issue with Universal Corp. is that although it has a large sales base, it struggles to eke out profits. The company’s net income fell from $6.15 million to negative $2.06 million, despite its solid top-line increase. Notably, the single analyst covering the stock believes UVV shares are worth $59 apiece. They currently trade for $49, the company’s dividend hasn’t been reduced since 1971, and the payout ratio is healthy. That’s the right combination for investors seeking a long-term dividend stock to buy right now.

On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Alex Sirois is a freelance contributor to InvestorPlace whose personal stock investing style is focused on long-term, buy-and-hold, wealth-building stock picks. Having worked in several industries from e-commerce to translation to education and utilizing his MBA from George Washington University, he brings a diverse set of skills through which he filters his writing.

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