October 22, 2015 / 1:06 PM / 3 years ago

Profit up at Canada's Shaw on price hikes, asset sale; customers leave

TORONTO (Reuters) - Shaw Communications Inc (SJRb.TO) reported a sharp jump in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by the sale of wireless airwaves and price increases, but shed large numbers of retail television customers and barely added consumer Internet subscribers.

The Shaw Communications sign is seen on their office building in Calgary, Alberta May 3, 2010. REUTERS/Todd Korol

The Calgary-based cable company said net income rose to C$276 million, or 57 Canadian cents per share, from C$192 million, or 40 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

It received C$100 million in a sale of airwaves to Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) in a complex deal announced in June.

Revenue rose 6 percent to C$1.34 billion, helped by the acquisition of U.S. data center company Viawest, which closed last September.

Analysts, on average, expected Shaw to earn 43 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$1.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company warned in June it would likely only reach the lower end of its full-year operating income target.

Shaw, which competes with Telus Corp (T.TO) for customers in Canada’s West, said its consumer unit lost almost 42,000 television subscribers and 34,000 landline telephone accounts. It added 265 new Internet customers.

It also lost business TV subscribers but gained Internet and phone connections.

The company expects flat to low-single-digit growth in operating income before restructuring costs and amortization in fiscal 2016. Shaw forecast free cash flow of between C$665 million and C$680 million next year.

Free cash flow fell to C$653 million in 2015, from C$698 million in 2014 due to higher capital spending and pension costs.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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