Shaw profit dips, says still exploring wireless

Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:22pm EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Shaw Communications Inc posted a lower quarterly profit on Friday compared with year-earlier results that were lifted by a one-time gain and said it continues to explore the possibility of entering the wireless business.

Shaw also announced that its acquisition of privately held Mountain Cablevision Ltd in Hamilton, Ontario, has received regulatory approval. It said the acquisition makes it the largest cable company in Canada.

The Calgary, Alberta-based cable and telecom company said it earned C$124 million ($118.1 million), or 29 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended August 31. That was down from a net profit of C$132.4 million, or 31 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Operating income before amortization rose 7 percent to C$395 million. Revenue was up 8 percent to C$873 million from C$805.7 million.

Basic cable subscribers increased by 6,374 to 2.29 million, while digital customers rose by 110,501 to 1.3 million. Internet customers, including pending installations, rose by 27,376 to 1.68 million.

With the Mountain Cablevision deal, Shaw adds about 135 employees, 41,000 cable customers, 29,000 Internet subscribers and 30,000 digital phone lines, it said.

The deal was first announced in July and Chief Executive Jim Shaw told analysts on Friday the purchase price was just over C$300 million.

The company said its preliminary forecast for 2010 sees operating income before amortization growing by 14 percent or more and free cash flow comparable to 2009. It plans to continue its rate of capital investment.   Continued...