Rogers posts profit but shares drop on wireless

Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:56am EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote) said on Tuesday it swung to a second-quarter profit but stiff competition and a slowdown in the wireless market stifled growth of its mobile phone business, sending its shares lower.

Rogers, the telecoms and media group that owns Canada's biggest wireless carrier and one of Canada's largest cable companies, said it added 92,000 postpaid, or longer-term, wireless subscribers, down from 133,000 a year earlier.

"Additions were weak," said Troy Crandall, an analyst at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, who said consumers may have postponed signing up while they waited for Apple Inc's (AAPL.O: Quote) popular iPhone 3G that was launched on Rogers' network after the quarter closed.

"That could've been one of the reasons why we saw some weakness in this quarter," he said.

Other factors that hurt growth in the mobile phone business included "a modest slowdown in overall wireless purchasing activity," increased competition and an unusually strong second quarter for wireless growth a year earlier, Rogers said.

The company's shares fell C$2.55, or 6.8 percent, to C$35.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Rogers said it earned C$301 million, or 47 Canadian cents per share, in the three months ended June 30. That compares with a loss of C$56 million, or 9 Canadian cents, in the same period a year earlier.

Adjusted net income rose to C$364 million, or 57 Canadian cents a share, from C$299 million, or 47 Canadian cents.   Continued...

<p>A pedestrian uses his mobile phone while walking past a Rogers store in Ottawa July 21, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>