BCE profit rises, helped by TV, tax change

Thu Nov 3, 2011 10:31am EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

(Reuters) - BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote), Canada's largest telecom company, posted a 41 percent jump in third-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by a tax reversal and its acquisition of CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster.

The Montreal-based company, parent of Bell Canada, said it had cut 1,200 management jobs by the end of October as it reduces the cost of running its declining landline phone business, while the wireless division profited as more customers signed up for smartphones and increased their usage.

"One place where Bell clearly should take credit is in cost-cutting and not paying taxes," Canaccord Genuity's Dvai Ghose said. "But there were some very mixed at best operating results."

The company said growth of its landline Internet business had been held back by growing competition while government and corporate business remained weak.

"Overall, the results were in line but do show that competitive pressures in the market are accelerating," Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi wrote in a note.

Shares of BCE, which have risen almost 11 percent so far this year, nudged a couple of cents higher to C$39.69 by mid-morning.

Net profit rose to C$642 million, or 83 Canadian cents a share, from C$454 million, or 60 Canadian cents a share, last year.

On an adjusted basis, earnings came in at 93 Canadian cents a share, while revenue rose almost 9 percent to C$4.91 billion.   Continued...