Canada's Wind Mobile nears break-even, sees 2015 profit

Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:06pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, June 17 (Reuters) - Canada's Wind Mobile is close to breaking even on a cash-flow basis and expects to turn a profit by 2015, its CEO said on Tuesday, improving its chances of raising much-needed capital as it strives to become the country's fourth national wireless carrier.

Anthony Lacavera, chief executive of Globalive, which controls Wind Canada with the backing of Russian-led Vimpelcom Ltd, said the company has been signing up record numbers of new customers and only the cost of doing so at a discount is standing in the way of profitability.

"Wind is on a solid operational footing," he said in remarks prepared for delivery to the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto. "I am confident our operating results and the positive momentum of the business will enable us to access the capital markets."

Wind needs a fresh infusion of capital as Vimpelcom, discouraged by Canadian law that until recently barred foreign companies from controlling any domestic telecoms, has written off its investment in the company. Vimpelcom also refused to fund a Wind bid for 700 MHz wireless spectrum auctioned by the government earlier this year.

Wind will need financing for years to come as it pushes to compete on a national basis with the three large companies - BCE Inc, Telus Corp and Rogers Communications - that dominate the Canadian industry.

Wind currently operates in three of Canada's most populous provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Lacavera said the widening gap in spectrum ownership between Wind and the country's trio of dominant companies needs to be resolved soon.

With help, Wind could bid in further spectrum auctions on the horizon or buy airwaves on the open market, perhaps from fellow upstart Mobilicity, which is wallowing in creditor protection after Ottawa shooed away a takeover bid by Telus.   Continued...