UPDATE 2-Shaw Communications stumbles on cable cost- and cord- cutting
(Adds analyst and executive comment, share reaction, byline)
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, June 26 (Reuters) - Shaw Communications Inc , a Western Canada-focused media and cable company, said on Thursday that net income fell almost 9 percent in the third quarter, as it lost more television subscribers despite a boost from business customers.
Calgary, Alberta-based Shaw is engaged in a fierce battle for customers with telecommunications operator Telus Corp , but both have sought to avoid a price war.
Analysts cheered the cost-cutting of job cuts in its cable unit, which also shed viewers at a slower-than-expected pace and added net business accounts.
Shares of the family-controlled company closed up 0.2 percent at C$24.65 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
"We were impressed by cable subscriber results and financials, but satellite, media and valuation are concerns," Dvai Ghose, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, wrote in a note.
Shaw reported net income of C$228 million ($210 million), or 47 Canadian cents per share, for the quarter ended May 31, down from C$250 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier.
Operating revenue was C$1.342 billion, up slightly from a year ago. The company said it now expects free cash in excess of C$650 million for 2014. Continued...