Canada's Rogers takes TV hit; beats on wireless growth

Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:12am EST
 
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO took a hit from an abandoned television project but reported better-than-expected adjusted profit on Thursday that sent its shares higher as Canada's largest wireless provider leaned on mobile and internet growth.

The Toronto-based company's outlook for 2017 pointed to better days ahead, but it stood pat on its dividend payout.

The company, controlled by the Rogers family, surprised analysts with the addition of 93,000 net postpaid wireless subscribers in the last three months of 2016, boosting both profit and revenue in its biggest business.

Postpaid customers paid C$7.83 more per month than they did a year ago as the company expanded its use of data plans that can be shared across devices and by multiple users.

Rogers also added 30,000 landline internet and 4,000 landline phone accounts, but lost 13,000 television subscribers.

Its shares jumped 3.5 percent to C$54.44 shortly after the open.

"Good subscriber momentum going into 2017," Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi wrote in a note. "Time to translate this into earnings."

Rogers took a C$484 million impairment charge, wiping out its net profit, after scrapping development of its own internet-based television product in favor of a product from Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O: Quote).   Continued...

 
The headquarters of Rogers Communications Inc. is seen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren