It was pointed out to me recently that there’s no David Fish dividend champion list for UK stocks. There’s the fantastic US dividend champion list, and even a Canadian All-star list. But not one for the UK. 🙁 The Queen would not be amused if she knew! Although I daresay she doesn’t spend much time researching dividend paying stocks.
Although perhaps not terribly interesting to most US investors, I hope some of my European and British readers will find the list interesting. Still with me? Grab a cup of tea and read on…
So anyway, I decided to play around for a couple of evenings this week. I wrote some visual basic scripts and collected dividend data for all of the 470 stock symbols that pay dividends on the London Stock Exchange. Of those, only 137 showed as paying increasing dividends for 5 years or more.
In search of the UK Dividend Champion
Based on my research so far, there is no UK Dividend Champion that’s increased dividends for more than 25 years in a row. That said, it’s really hard to get historical dividend payment information for free on the internet. I only managed to get it as far back as 1992 so the longest Dividend Contenders I’m showing in the list have a growth history of 21 years. The general quality seems pretty bad too; I found several inconsistencies between different financial sites and the data they reported.
I didn’t take stock splits into consideration either, so together with the limited history, there are likely some companies that have increased dividends for 25 years straight but finding them will be a challenge unless they disclose it in a press release.
UK dividend payments are typically paid twice a year and not quarterly as in the US. An interim payment is typically made in the first half of the financial year (‘H1’) and then the final payment is made at the year end (‘H2’). I ignored all that and just summed up the dividends per calendar year based on their ex-dividend date, so the annual dividend amounts I’m show in my file may be different than those reported on some UK websites.
My “UK Dividend Champions List”
You can find my list in the file below which I modelled after the US list but it has only a few columns of data at present, mostly focusing on annual dividend growth.
Update: File is updated to version 2014-09-01. See the new home page for more details.
The only company I recognized in the top 20 was Vodafone (VOD.L) who have a 20 year growth history. On a side note, I worked for Vodafone for like 5 minutes in a short-lived blaze of corporate takeovers back in 1994/5 when they acquired the German conglomerate Mannesmann which in turn was owning a German mobile phone company that they wanted.
BAE (BA.L) makes the list too at 10 years; I pass one of their offices on my drive to work each morning. And in the technology sector, ARM Holdings (ARM.L) has a history of 9 years – they’ve managed to carve out an entire empire underneath Intel in the world of low power microprocessors and their ARM processors can be found in iPhones and various tablets.
The few other companies I recognize in the list are high street stores such as Next (NXT.L) (7 years), WH Smiths (SMWH.L) (5 years) and Barclays Bank (BARC.L) also at 5 years who offer a pretty good Savings account in the US with a 0.9% rate.
And last but not least, everyone knows Rolls Royce (RR.L). Except this is the Defense company making jet engines and turbines, not the luxury automobile company which is owned by BMW.
If anyone finds this list useful and wishes to see updates to it, or maybe even contribute to it with corrections and suggestions, please let me know.
Quote of the day
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.