Rogers profit jumps 30 percent; CEO to retire in year

Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:06pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote), Canada's largest wireless company, posted a 30 percent rise in adjusted quarterly profit, increased its dividend and said its chief executive would leave the company early next year.

A successor was not named for CEO Nadir Mohamed, who will retire in January 2014. He has led the company since the death of Ted Rogers, the broadcast and telecommunications company's founder, four years ago.

Shares of the company jumped more than 5 percent to C$47.79, its highest price since late 2007, after it announced the change as well as steps to enhance shareholder value.

It increased its annual dividend by 10 percent to C$1.74 per share and authorized repurchases of up to C$500 million of the company's stock, or roughly 10 percent of the public float.

"I think the dividend increase has a lot to do with it," said Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi, referring to the share price move. "It's still a market where investors are searching for yield."

Yaghi said investors were pleased that Rogers expects growth at its landline business - cable television and fixed-line Internet - even as BCE Inc's (BCE.TO: Quote) Bell ramps up its Internet protocol television service.

Rogers - once Canada's clear leader in wireless technology - has struggled to match the market share expansion of BCE Inc and Telus Corp (T.TO: Quote) in recent quarters, while its higher average bills have also come under pressure.

In the final three months of 2012, subscriber numbers showed some weakness but average bills and churn - the average proportion of subscribers that cancel that service each month - were stronger than expected, said Drew McReynolds, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.   Continued...

A woman walks by a sign at the Rogers Communications headquarters building on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 25, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch