Novo Nordisk (NVO): A Dividend Growth Maverick

Yesterday's article, Break the Dividend Stock Cartel, pointed out that the S&P 500’s dividend yield (and thus payout ratio) is near historic lows even though earnings are near historic highs.

Readers of this article may be interested in the latest earnings release from Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO), a Danish company and leader in global healthcare and diabetes care.

I suggested in that article that dividend investors “break the cartel” by investing in “new entrants and mavericks”, which I defined as companies "…that are going their own way, and initiating or steadily increasing their dividend payouts far above the historical average."

Novo Nordisk is one of these companies. In addition to reporting that 2011 sales and operating profit increased by 11% and 18%, respectively, management has proposed that the company increase its current dividend by 40%.

If passed, Novo Nordisk's payout ratio will be 45.3%, up from 39.6% in 2010. The proposal will be discussed at the next Annual General Meeting, scheduled for March 21, 2012.

There's a lot more I could say about Novo Nordisk but I'll save it for another time. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I should state that I'm a shareholder of NVO and after reading the announcement yesterday, I added modestly to my position.

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