There is a group of ASX dividend shares that have been increasing the dividend for shareholders for many years in a row.
COVID-19 didn’t stop the income increases for investors. The underlying profit and cashflow were high enough that it meant the businesses could continue to grow the payouts for investors.
These two ASX dividend shares have managed to keep growing the dividend payout:
APA Group (ASX: APA)
APA describes itself as a leading Australian energy infrastructure business. Its gas transmission pipelines span every state on mainland Australia, delivering approximately half of the nation’s gas usage.
The infrastructure energy business has direct management and operational control over its assets and the majority of its investments. Not only does it own a large amount of gas pipelines around Australia, it’s also one of the largest owners and operators of renewable power generation assets, with wind and solar projects across Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
APA recently announced its first hybrid energy microgrid at the Gruyere Gold Mine in Western Australia, combining solar energy with battery energy storage.
The ASX dividend share has increased its distribution every year for a decade and a half. New projects generate more cashflow, which provides the funding for higher distributions.
APA recently announced it had reached a final investment decision (FID) to commence expansion of transportation capacity on its East Coast grid, linking Queensland with southern markets by approximately 25% for a total investment of $270 million.
At the current APA share price, it has a distribution yield of 5.5%.
Sonic Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SHL)
Sonic Healthcare is another ASX dividend share that has been increasing the payout to shareholders, every year since 2013.
The company has built a global portfolio of pathology businesses. Around 40% of revenue is being generated in Europe and the UK, another 25% in the US and the rest coming from Australia (and a very small contribution from New Zealand).
Long-term profit growth has helped send the dividend higher and higher.
FY19 saw the ASX dividend share’s net profit rise 15.6% and the dividend increased 3.7% to $0.84. FY20 saw underlying net profit growth of 6.5% with the full year dividend rising 1.2% to $0.85. The HY21 result showed net profit growth of 166%, with a steady 6% increase of the half-year dividend to $0.36 per share.
Why was the HY21 result so strong? It has seen significant revenue and earnings contribution from COVID-19 testing, leveraging existing infrastructure. More than 18 million COVID-19 PCR tests have been performed. It has seen margin improvements in both laboratory and imaging operations.
Management said that the volumes and quality of testing it has been able to achieve in such a short timeframe was a result of investments it has made over the years. That includes specimen collection facilities, courier networks, laboratories and other facilities, equipment, IT management, staff and supply chains. At the current Sonic share price it has a partially franked dividend yield of 2.5%.