Investors in the US have a term they use to describe dividend shares that have been increasing their payouts every year for 25 years or more: dividend aristocrats. Dividend kings are even better – delivering 50 years of uninterrupted dividend pay rises for their investors.
Unfortunately on the ASX here in Australia, we don’t have any companies that qualify for either crown.
But we still have dividend royalty – those shares that boast the best track records when it comes to the consistency of rising dividend payments.
Here are three ASX dividend shares that I feel qualify for the title of ‘ASX dividend aristocrat’.
Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL)
‘Soul Patts’ is the closest thing we have (in my view) on the ASX to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. It’s a highly diversified conglomerate with major stakes in a wide portfolio of ASX companies. These include TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM), New Hope Corporation Ltd (ASX: NHC) and BKI Investment Co Ltd (ASX: BKI).
It has been able to use this portfolio to deliver cautious but consistent dividend increases for its shareholders every year since 2000 and has paid a dividend every year since its public listing in 1902! If you want ASX dividend royalty – you’ve found it!
Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC)
Ramsay is both Australia’s largest operator of private hospitals and the second company that can boast a history of dividend pay rises since the year 2000. Another five years and we’ll actually have two ASX dividend aristocrats!
This company has effectively managed a huge international expansion program for its high-end hospitals and today can claim significant operations in the UK, France, Indonesia and Malaysia.
It’s this expansion together with running a water-tight operational ship that has allowed Ramsay Healthcare to maintain such an impressive dividend record. With the ageing populations of developed countries around the world, I still see significant upside in Ramsay’s future.
Brickworks Ltd (ASX: BKW)
Brickworks is a building materials company but also has a significant portfolio of property assets as well as a stake in Soul Patts (which Soul Patts reciprocates in turn). Bricks and building materials are a cyclical business to be in, but this company has been able to effectively use the income from these other sources to offset the bad times as well as augment the good.
Now Brickworks also has a stellar history of dividend payments, having maintained or increased its dividend every year since 1976. If it weren’t for a few years that Brickworks held its dividend flat (between 2011 and 2013), it would also be able to claim increases every year since 1997. Still, I think this company’s remarkable dividend track record stands for itself regardless.
All three of these ASX companies have demonstrated their dividend-paying finesse with an enviable track record of rewarding their shareholders. I would be very happy to have all three in my own portfolios and I think any dividend investor (quite frankly) should feel the same!
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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns shares of Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Brickworks and Ramsay Health Care Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.