Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), British American Tobacco plc (LON:BATS), GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK), Centrica PLC, (LON:CNA) and Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON:MRW) are the only shares in the FTSE 100 to pass these income criteria.
Here are five rules that you can use to find dividend shares.
Rule 1: Bigger is often safer
Large companies are often more geographically diverse, have established brands and a strong market position. This helps them to maintain and increase shareholder dividends.
Filter 1: FTSE 100 companies only.
Rule 2: Bigger yields are better
There's little point investing for income but buying shares on tiny yields.
Filter 2: Share must yield over 4%.
Rule 3: Earnings growth potential is compulsory
I want dividend-payers to be able to increase their payouts. This is more likely if they can increase earnings first.
Filter 3: EPS growth is forecast.
Rule 4: Invest in companies committed to dividend increases
If a company has previously been increasing its dividend, there will be significant pressure on management to continue.
Filter 4: The dividend must have increased every year for at least the last three years.
Rule 5: Dividend must be covered by profits.
If a company's dividend is not covered by its profits, a future cut is more likely.
Filter 5: Dividend cover of at least 10%.
My rules reduce the entire FTSE 100 to just five qualifying shares.
|Company||Price (p)||2013 P/E (forecast)||2013 yield (%, forecast)||Market cap (£m)|
|Tesco (LSE: TSCO)||356||11.1||4.1||28,600|
|British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS)||3,261||14.5||4.5||63,160|
|GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK)||1,420||12.0||5.5||69,760|
|Centrica (LSE: CNA)||347||12.4||5.0||18,020|
|WM Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW)||257||9.7||4.5||6,200|
Tesco has the longest history of successive dividend increases of any FTSE 100 company. If the company ups its dividend in its final results, it will be the 28th year in a row that the payout to shareholders has increased.
Tesco has recently been taking steps to reassure its investors. The company has now appointed a new boss of its core UK division. Tesco is also placing its US operation 'Fresh and Easy' under review. This has been taken as a signal that Tesco is preparing to dispose of the loss-making chain.
Tesco shares now trade at a high for the year.
British American Tobacco (BATS)
BATS is another of the FTSE 100's top dividend payers. In the last five years, its dividends to shareholders have increased at an average rate of 17.7% per annum.
British American Tobacco is the company behind cigarette brands such as Dunhill, Kent and Lucky Strike. In this business, customers are famously loyal (addicted). This enables BATS to pay such a reliable dividend.
Some of you may have ethical concerns about investing in a cigarette manufacturer. What deters me from investing in BATS is my belief that worldwide tobacco sales may have peaked.
BATS is forecast to report a 6.3% dividend increase for 2012, to be followed by a 9% rise in 2013.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline sells a range of products that its consumers would struggle to live without. This delivers a high visibility of future sales and profits. This flows through to a very reliable shareholder dividend.
Glaxo also owns some top consumer brands including Lucozade, Horlicks and Ribena.
The strength of Glaxo's business is evident in its shareholder dividend. The company has been increasing its dividend to shareholders every years since 1998. In the last five years, it has increased at an average of 7.8% per annum.
A 6.2% dividend increase is forecast for 2013, followed by a 4.2% rise the year after.
Centrica is the utility firm behind British Gas. As such, much of its revenues are derived from a highly regulated non-discretionary industry. This is the double-edged sword that all utilities firms operate with. The fact that consumers are so reluctant to ever reduce energy consumption gives a high degree of visibility to Centrica's earnings. On the other hand, the power of the industry regulator means that the rules of the game can change very quickly.
In the last five years, the Centrica dividend has been increased at an average rate of 9.2% per annum. Another two years of above inflation increases are forecast.
WM Morrison Supermarkets (Morrisons)
Morrisons is currently fighting competition on a number of fronts: traditional peers like Tesco and Sainsbury's along with foreign discounters Aldi and Lidl. Recent market surveys have shown Morrisons losing market share. This has spooked the markets and the shares now trade near a low for the year.
Concerns over Morrisons' profitability are best illustrated by the trend in analyst forecasts. This time last year, the consensus was for 2013 earnings per share of 28.7p. This has since declined to 26.5p, a forecast increase of just 1.5% on last year's profits.
Morrisons' dividend is expected to increase by 9.7% for 2013, followed by a 7.7% rise for 2014.
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> David does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.