This 4.1%-Yielding REIT Remains Sturdy

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Commercial property real estate investment trust, or REIT, Realty Income Corp. (NYSE: O) takes its dividend seriously. So much so that it bills itself “The Monthly Dividend Company.” When you visit the company’s website, there is as much information on the dividend as there is on the operations of the business. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the company not only pays the dividend monthly but has never reduced it.

One year ago, I examined the dividend safety of Realty Income and determined it was very safe. At the time, the company had raised its dividend every quarter for 23 years in a row.

That streak has been extended to 24 years, or 96 straight quarters.

Realty Income's Dividend Per Share

When I last wrote about Realty Income, funds from operations (FFO) were forecast to come in at $1.16 billion, which would cover the expected $948 million in dividends. As a refresher, FFO is the measure of cash flow that we use for REITs.

Let’s see how that played out.

In 2020, Realty Income generated $1.14 billion in FFO while paying shareholders $964 million, so no problem there.

In 2021, FFO is projected to be $1.35 billion. The estimate for dividends paid is $1.1 billion.

Realty Income owns more than 7,000 properties in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. Its top clients are 7-Eleven, Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) and Dollar General (NYSE: DG). It has an outstanding 98.5% occupancy rate, which is one reason it can pay those dividends every month.

The current monthly dividend is $0.236 per share. That comes out to $2.832 per year for a 4.1% yield.

Based on the company’s two-and-a-half-decade history of quarterly dividend increases, its strong financials and its commitment to its dividend, not much has changed in the past year when it comes to Realty Income’s dividend safety.

The dividend is very safe.

Dividend Safety Rating: A

Dividend Grade Guide

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