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Oct 19, 2017

Rogers reports more-than-doubled profit, raises full-year forecast

Rogers doubles profit on wireless strength

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Canadian telecom company Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) said on Thursday its third-quarter profit more than doubled as its wireless business kept firing on all cylinders and it sharply raised its full-year profit forecast.

Rogers, the country's largest wireless company by market share, said it added 129,000 net postpaid wireless subscribers in the quarter, the largest jump in such high-value customers in eight years and more than the 113,000 average of expectations from five analysts polled by Reuters.

Revenue in wireless, its biggest business, jumped five per cent, while its cable unit notched a one per cent revenue growth in what Chief Executive Joe Natale called "a highly competitive quarter."

Natale is six months into a job in which he is focused on improving customer service, a hallmark of his previous employer, Telus Corp (T.TO).

Postpaid wireless churn, the rate at which those high-value customers leave, came in at 1.16 per cent a month, an improvement from a year ago but slightly higher than in the prior quarter rate of 1.05 per cent a month, when it hit its lowest rate since 2009.

The Toronto-based company's net income rose to $467 million, or 91 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $220 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $3.58 billion from $3.49 billion.

 



On an adjusted basis the company earned $1.01 per diluted share, up from 83 cents a year ago.

Analysts had on average expected Rogers to earn $1 a share on revenue of $3.62 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Rogers said it expects annual adjusted operating profit growth of between five and six per cent, up from a two-to-four per cent range it gave in January.

The company is "delivering on high expectations," RBC Capital Markets analyst Drew McReynolds wrote in a note to clients.

The company added 27,000 landline internet and 1,000 landline phone accounts, but lost 18,000 television subscribers.

The analysts polled had expected 35,000 internet additions, with the number a particular focus given rival BCE Inc <BCE.TO> is spending heavily to build out a more advanced fixed-line network.

Rogers said cable revenue was weighed down by recent regulatory changes forcing it to lower wholesale fees for smaller rivals to access its broadband network.

It kept its quarterly dividend steady at 48 cents, where it has been for more than two years, saying it would increase its capital spending to invest further in its networks.