* Cuts earnings outlook for the year, blames economy
* Revs C$2.41 billion
* Says 1,750 full-time equivalent jobs cut since December
* Shares drop 2.1 percent
(Adds details, share price)
By Wojtek Dabrowski
TORONTO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Telus Corp (T.TO), Canada’s No. 2 phone company, said on Friday quarterly profit dipped and it lowered its earnings outlook for the year because of a weak economy and stepped-up competition in wireless.
The company also revealed it had cut an equivalent of about 1,750 full-time jobs since December to reduce costs. Telus currently employs about 35,000 people.
Telus now expects 2009 basic earnings of C$3.10 to C$3.30 a share, ditching a previous forecast of between C$3.35 and C$3.55.
It also shaved its revenue outlook to C$9.6 billion to C$9.7 billion, as long-term wireless subscriber additions and average spending by wireless customers dropped in the third quarter.
The stock dropped about 2 percent on the news, even though earnings topped analyst expectations according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“What the market is focusing on is the lower guidance,” said National Bank Financial analyst Greg MacDonald. “The direction is not a surprise. It’s the magnitude that’s a little surprising.”
Earnings dropped to C$280 million ($261.7 million), or 87 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, from C$286 million, or 89 Canadian cents, a year earlier.
Revenue dipped to C$2.41 billion from C$2.45 billion.
The results come days after Telus, along with BCE Inc (BCE.TO), began selling Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone, breaking a Canadian monopoly enjoyed by Rogers Communications Inc.’s since its introduction of the popular smartphone in Canada last year.
Telus added 131,000 new postpaid, or longer-term, wireless subscribers in the quarter, down from 133,000 additions a year earlier.
Average monthly revenue per wireless user dropped to C$59.45 from C$64.14.
“Uncertainty regarding the strength and persistence of the economic recovery, and high competitive intensity continue to affect wireless,” the company said in a statement.
Even so, National Bank’s MacDonald said it was encouraging for investors that wireless average monthly revenue hadn’t declined even further and that postpaid subscriber additions held fairly steady.
Net additions of high-speed Internet subscribers dropped to 9,000 from 13,000, “due to a maturing market and promotional activity from cable-TV competitors.”
The company’s shares dropped 70 Canadian cents, or 2.1 percent, to C$33.28 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The company said its workforce swelled by about 700 full-time equivalent positions with its purchase of camera and photography services retailer Black’s Photo in September. Counting those additions, its net reduction in staff since December 2008 is about 1,050, it said.
Telus and BCE, Canada’s biggest telecommunications company, partnered to build a network upgrade that would let both companies sell next-generation devices like the iPhone. The network launched this week.
Until now, Rogers Communications Inc — owner of the country’s biggest wireless carrier — was the only service provider to sell the iPhone in Canada. ($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Frank McGurty)