February 5, 2009 / 8:13 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Manitoba Tel hit by weaker data, long distance

* EPS C$0.59 vs C$0.62 from continuing operations

* Confirms 2009 outlook for growth

* Shares down 0.7 percent

TORONTO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Manitoba Telecom MBT.TO posted lower revenue and earnings per share on Thursday that fell short of analyst expectations, as the communications company was hit by weaker performances from its data and long-distance services divisions.

The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of C$156.7 million ($127.6 million), or 59 Canadian cents a share from continuing operations, compared with C$154.8 million, or 62 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent to C$476.4 million.

Analysts had expected earnings per share before items of 65 Canadian cents and revenue of C$491.7 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

The Winnipeg-based company reiterated its 2009 outlook for growth in revenue, earnings per share and cash flow of about 2 percent.

Late last year, Manitoba Tel said it expected a small increase in annual profit but flat revenues for 2009 due to “unprecedented economic uncertainty, both globally and here in Canada.”

For 2009, it said it expects earnings per share of between C$2.90 and C$3.20 from continuing operations, compared with C$2.98 for the 2008 fiscal year, ended Dec. 31.

Revenue will be essentially flat, at between C$1.9 billion and C$1.98 billion, MTS said. That compares with C$1.92 billion in 2008.

MTS set annualized cost cut targets of between C$35 million and C$45 million.

The company’s shares were down 0.7 percent at C$35.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

$1=$1.23 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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