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Wireless technology firm
Qualcomm(QCOM) is riding the quick growth of the mobile device market as smartphones, tablets, and subnotebook computers. Qualcomm is best known as a wireless chipmaker, producing everything from processors to wireless communications cards, but it's also a major a major tech IP licensor. The firm's patents effectively mean that every handset maker in the world has to pay Qualcomm royalties if they want their phones to operate on 3G and 4G networks.
That royalty income angle makes QCOM an ideal dividend payer. Right now, the firm pays out a 25-cent quarterly dividend for a 1.6% yield.
Mobile phones have been advancing rapidly in recent years, and handset makers have enjoyed breakneck volume as consumers switched to smartphones and upgraded older units. And every phone sale generates cash for Qualcomm, even if the firm's chips aren't used. Even down the road, that isn't likely to change as handset makers need to retain backward compatibility to sell phones.
Mobile chips are still the biggest part of QCOM's revenues; the firm's offerings are critical components in phones such as the Samsung Galaxy line and the iPhone 5. Qualcomm's new Snapdragon processor stands to be the jewel in the firm's crown, offering more processing power for OEMs and more revenues per chip for QCOM.
A debt-free balance sheet and more than $27 billion in cash and investments give Qualcomm plenty of liquidity to keep paying shareholders on top of its impressive cash flow generation. That sets the stage for a dividend hike in 2013, especially given chipmakers' stock price action over the last year. These firms need to reward shareholders with returns; a dividend hike does that.
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