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3 top ASX dividend shares to buy

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There are some ASX dividend shares that have kept growing the dividend to shareholders even during 2020.

That may be attractive to income investors in a world where interest rates are so low.

Here are three options within the ASX 200:

Bapcor Ltd (ASX: BAP)

Bapcor currently has a grossed-up dividend yield of 3.25%.

This business is the largest auto parts business in Australia and New Zealand. It operates a number of different brands including Burson, Autobarn, Precision Automotive equipment, Truck and Trailer Parts, Truckline, Midas and ABS.

Bapcor’s FY20 final dividend was maintained at 9.5 cents per share, but thanks to a half-year increase the full year dividend was increased by 2.9% to 17.5 cents. That was despite underlying pro forma net profit being down 5.5%.

The ASX dividend share recently gave a FY21 trading update. For the five months to the end of November 2020, revenue was up 26%. Net profit after tax (NPAT) achieved operating leverage from lower expenses in areas like travel and other areas of discretionary spending, as well as lower interest rates and the contribution from Truckline which wasn’t in the prior corresponding period.

In the first half of FY21 Bapcor thinks revenue will grow by 25% and net profit will rise by at least 50%.

Wilson Asset Management is one of the fund managers that likes Bapcor for its rebounding performance, its strong market position and its ability to potentially make more acquisitions with a strong balance sheet.

APA Group (ASX: APA)

APA currently has a distribution yield of 5.2%.

This ASX dividend share owns a large network of 15,000km of natural gas pipelines around Australia with a presence in every mainland state and the Northern Territory. It also owns or has interests in gas storage facilities, gas-fired power stations and renewable energy generation (wind and solar farms). APA owns, or manages and operates, a portfolio of assets and delivers half the nation’s natural gas usage.

APA has increased its distribution every year since just before the GFC, which is a long record for the ASX.

The business funds its distribution from its annual operating cashflow, which is steadily rising as it finishes more energy infrastructure projects. One recently-announced plan is to build a new pipeline in WA and then link that with existing pipelines.

The Australian government has commented that gas could be part of the recovery from COVID-19 impacts.

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL)

Soul Patts currently has a grossed-up dividend yield of 2.9%.

This ASX dividend share has the longest dividend growth streak on the ASX. It has grown its dividend every year since 2000.

Soul Patts funds its dividend from the investment income (dividends, distributions and interest) from its portfolio of assets.

It has substantial holdings in listed businesses like TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPG), Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW), Bki Investment Co Ltd (ASX: BKI), Milton Corporation Limited (ASX: MLT), Palla Pharma Ltd (ASX: PAL), Clover Corporation Limited (ASX: CLV) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API).

Soul Patts also has an unlisted portfolio of businesses. It has investments in sectors like agriculture, financial services, resources and swimming schools.

The ASX dividend share has a long-term investment style, whilst also usually looking at defensive assets and investing with a contrarian nature. Not only is the investing long-term, but the employees are also long-term.

More than 40 employees have worked for the company for over 50 years. Five generations of the Pattinson family have served the company, as have three generations of the Dixson, Spence, Rowe and Letters families.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Bapcor and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of APA Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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