(Reuters) - Canada’s Shaw Communications Inc posted an unexpected 4 percent fall in first-quarter profit as a continued drop in television subscriptions offset a rise in internet accounts.
The company said on Thursday a significant number of losses was due to the shutting down of work camps in Fort McMurray, an oil hub in Alberta.
The near 70 percent plunge in oil prices since June 2014 has slammed the energy-producing province of Alberta, with jobless rate rising to 7 percent in December 2015 from 4.7 percent a year earlier.
Shaw said it will continue to see a decline in business in northern Alberta.
However, the company maintained its 2016 capital investment of about C$980 million on a consolidated basis.
The company said on a conference call that it still expects flat to low single digit growth in operating income before restructuring costs, amortization.
Shaw, which competes with Telus Corp in west Canada, said its consumer unit lost 30,000 television and 5,600 landline telephone accounts in the quarter ended Nov. 30.
The Calgary-based company added 11,000 new retail Internet customers and 2,600 business internet accounts.
The company’s net income fell to C$218 million ($152 million), or 43 Canadian cents per share, from C$227 million, or 46 Canadian cents, a year earlier.
Analysts on average were expecting profit to rise to 48 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shaw’s quarterly revenue rose 2.2 percent to C$1.42 billion.
The company said on Wednesday it would sell its television assets to Corus Entertainment Inc to fund its bid for wireless company Wind Mobile.
Shaw’s recent deal-making more closely aligns its strategy with that of Telus in choosing not to own the content they distribute.
The sale of media assets to Corus has helped assuage investor concerns about how Shaw would finance the Wind acquisition while also providing it more focus, analysts said.
Shares of Shaw, which had fallen 24 percent in 2015, closed up 7 Canadian cents at C$24.75.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto, Anet Josline Pinto, Kanika Sikka and Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sriraj Kalluvila