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Apr 12, 2017

Shaw posts 13.3% rise in revenue on more wireless customers

Shaw reports subscriber growth, Freedom Mobile CEO departure

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TORONTO -- Shaw Communications Inc. added more wireless subscribers and lost fewer TV, Internet and landline customers than expected in its most recent quarter, sending its shares higher.

Shaw (SJRb.TO) shares rose 4.63 per cent to $28.72 in morning trading, surpassing a 52-week high of $28.63, after the company released its quarterly results.

The company said Wednesday it recorded its best consumer subscriber trends in the quarter ended Feb. 28 since the second quarter of its 2012 financial year.

Shaw lost 5,294 consumer subscribers between its cable and satellite TV, Internet and phone services, compared with a loss of nearly 42,000 in the same quarter last year.

The company attributed the results in part to an attractively priced, high-speed Internet package that can be paired with its BlueSky TV Internet-protocol television product, which was launched earlier this year.

Drew McReynolds, an RBC Dominion Securities analyst, wrote in a note that he estimated the company would lose 30,000 subscribers this quarter.

The smaller number came from higher-than-expected Internet subscriber growth as the company added 13,466 customers and lower-than-expected cable TV losses, he wrote.

Shaw shed about 7,000 cable TV subscribers, while McReynolds had anticipated a decrease of 26,000.

The company also added about 33,000 wireless customers compared with McReynolds's estimate of 20,000.

The Calgary-based company said it earned $147 million in its latest quarter as revenue grew 13 per cent compared with a year ago, boosted by its Freedom Mobile wireless business.

The profit amounted to 30 cents per share for the quarter ended Feb. 28 compared with a profit of $164 million or 32 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Shaw, which sold its Shaw Media subsidiary in April 2016, said its profit from continuing operations totalled $147 million in what was its second quarter, up from $116 million a year ago. Revenue increased to $1.30 billion, compared with $1.15 billion in the same quarter last year.

Excluding its wireless division, which was acquired in March last year, revenue for the quarter from Shaw's combined consumer, business network services and business infrastructure services divisions was up 1.1 per cent.

The company also announced Alek Krstajic will be stepping down as chief executive of Freedom Mobile. Krstajic had been chief executive of Wind Mobile, the company that Shaw acquired and rebranded as Freedom Mobile.

Shaw said Paul McAleese will join the company as chief operating officer of Freedom Mobile.