A lot of people, especially in rural and edge-of-the-suburbs areas, use propane gas for heating and cooking. The total comes to about 4% of total U.S. households. Most of these propane users don’t have easy access to an alternative such as natural gas. After looking at the economics, natural gas companies have decided not to build the pipelines and other infrastructure necessary for delivery. Which is what makes Suburban Propane (SPH) such a great recession stock. (In a true depression many customers would be forced to go without.) The company, which has an estimated 5% share of the very fragmented U.S. propane market, raised its quarterly dividend in July for the thirteenth consecutive quarter. Standard & Poor’s forecasts another 3% to 5% dividend increase over the next 12 months. The yield as of October 14, 2009 was 7.61%
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