Canada's BCE net profit falls, revenue rises slightly

Thu Aug 8, 2013 8:44am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - BCE Inc, Canada's biggest telecommunications provider, on Thursday reported a 22 percent fall in profit, but a marginal increase in revenue and strong growth in wireless.

One-time factors, including a favorable 2012 tax resolution, made it hard to compare results for the Montreal-based parent of Bell Canada, one of three big players in a domestic market facing a shake-up if U.S. giant Verizon Communications Inc comes in.

BCE increased its profit and revenue forecasts, taking into account its acquisition of Astral Media.

BCE said second-quarter net earnings fell to C$571 million ($548 million), or 74 Canadian cents a share, from C$732 million, or 94 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 77 Canadian cents a share. Operating revenue was C$5.00 billion, compared with C$4.93 billion a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 76 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$4.96 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

BCE said it signed up 96,390 net contract wireless subscribers in the second quarter, and the average monthly bill of a Bell wireless customer rose 2.7 percent to C$56.85.

Subscribers who often sign multiyear contracts and use the latest smartphones typically pay four times more each month than prepaid subscribers. BCE along with Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp dominate the Canadian wireless market.

Churn, the average proportion of Bell subscribers who cancel their service each month, was steady at 1.3 percent.   Continued...