Dividends are one aspect of investing that keeps investors wanting more.
Not only do they represent a tangible return on your investment, but they also come in the form of cold, hard cash that you can use however you choose.
Plus, dividends have the potential to form a steady stream of passive income that can tide you through tough times or act as an additional source of income to supplement your current one.
Of course, income-seeking investors love it when dividends rise over time as this means that they can receive more cash for the same holdings they own.
However, the past three years have been tough as the onset of the pandemic meant that a wide swath of businesses was negatively impacted.
However, several stocks stood out for their ability to continue raising their dividends during this period.
Here are three Singapore stocks that saw their dividends increase over three consecutive years.
DBS Group (SGX: D05)
DBS needs no introduction, being Singapore’s largest bank by market capitalisation.
The bank has fared well throughout the pandemic as it was well-capitalised and did not suffer from a high level of bad loans or provisions.
Back in 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore called on Singapore banks to moderate their dividend payments.
Because of this move, DBS reduced its quarterly dividend to S$0.18 and paid out a total of S$0.87 that year.
In 2021, DBS restored its quarterly dividend to S$0.33 in the second quarter and by the end of the year, had raised it to S$0.36 for a total 2021 dividend of S$1.20.
But it was last year that saw the bank not only increase its quarterly dividend further to S$0.42 but also declared a special dividend of S$0.50.
By doing so, DBS’ total dividend for 2022 came up to S$2.00 per share.
The strong performance has carried on this year as the bank’s fiscal 2023’s first quarter (1Q 2023) earnings hit a record high of S$2.57 billion.
With the US Federal Reserve communicating that it may continue raising interest rates and that rate cuts will not happen anytime soon, DBS could see further upside to its earnings.
Recently, the bank’s Investor Day also revealed that the bank had a baseline assumption of a S$0.24 increase in annual dividends in the medium term, barring unforeseen circumstances.
NetLink NBN Trust (SGX: CJLU)
NetLink NBN Trust is part of the NetLink Group that designs, builds, owns, and operates the passive fibre network for Singapore’s nationwide broadband network (NBN).
NetLink provides extensive network coverage for both residential and non-residential homes in Singapore.
The group recently released its fiscal 2023 (FY2023) earnings ending 31 March 2023.
Revenue increased by 6.8% year on year to S$403.5 million with distribution per unit (DPU) rising by 2.1% year on year to S$0.0524 from S$0.0513.
In turn, FY2022’s DPU was also 1% higher than FY2021’s DPU of S$0.508.
NetLink NBN Trust ended the latest fiscal year with 1,485,000 residential fibre connections, up from 1,464,000 a year ago.
Its non-residential connections inched up 3.6% year on year to 52,100 while non-building address points shot up 12.6% year on year to 2,706.
The Singapore government has announced an initiative to develop a new digital connectivity blueprint and plans to bolster the country’s digital infrastructure to meet future requirements for speed, capacity and reliability.
This news bodes well for NetLink NBN Trust as the group is well-positioned to prepare for the next phase of growth for the NBN.
Raffles Medical Group (SGX: BSL)
Raffles Medical Group, or RMG, is an integrated healthcare provider with a network of three tertiary hospitals and over 100 multi-disciplinary clinics.
The group employs 2,800 staff and has a presence in Singapore, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
RMG saw more foreign patients seeking medical treatment in Singapore, offset by a fall in COVID-19 revenue for vaccinations and PCR tests.
As a result, revenue inched up 5.9% year on year to S$766.5 million for 2022.
Net profit, however, surged by 70.5% year on year to S$143.5 million, with the healthcare player upping its final dividend from S$0.028 to S$0.038.
2021 also saw the group report a 27.7% year-on-year improvement in net profit over the prior year.
2020 saw the payment of a S$0.025 total dividend, so over the 2020 to 2022 period, RMG has raised its dividend by 52% from S$0.025 to S$0.038.
RMG sees good potential to grow its business further as more patients seek treatment at its hospitals and medical clinics.
Its China hospitals should also see improved patient loads as the country eased its pandemic restrictions earlier this year.
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Disclosure: Royston Yang owns shares of DBS Group, NetLink NBN Trust and Raffles Medical Group.