UPDATE 1-Shaw Comms profit slips as cable customers exit

Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:20am EDT
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TORONTO Oct 24 (Reuters) - Shaw Communications Inc , the dominant cable company in Western Canada, said on Thursday its fourth-quarter profit slipped as heightened competition drained away customers, and its shares fell after release of the results.

Calgary, Alberta-based Shaw said it lost almost 30,000 cable-TV subscribers and fewer than 1,000 subscribers from its smaller satellite-TV business.

Shaw is facing fierce competition from telecom company Telus Corp, which offers wireless phone services on top of TV, landline phone and Internet services. Shaw abandoned plans to build a wireless phone network last year, restricting its ability to match Telus in offering discounted packages to customers.

"We expect the environment to remain challenging over the coming year," Chief Executive Brad Shaw said in the earnings release.

Shaw, which also operates Canada's Global TV network, said net income in the quarter declined to C$117 million ($112.62 million), or 24 Canadian cents a share, from C$133 million, or 28 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 3 percent to C$1.25 billion.

Analysts had, on average, expected Shaw to earn 33 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$1.24 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares in the company fell 3 percent to C$24.55 in early trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.   Continued...