BCE profit up to $615 million
Telecom giant cites higher revenue in all divisions
BCE Inc. is reporting first quarter net earnings of $615 million, or 79 cents per share, compared to $566 million or 73 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
Adjusted net earnings were $626 million, up from $599 million last year. Adjusted net earnings per share was 81 cents compared to 77 cents in the corresponding quarter last year.
BCE says its operating revenues in the quarter grew 3.7 per cent to $5.09 billion from $4.91 billion a year ago.
The telecom giant credits higher revenue from Bell's wireless, TV, Internet and other broadband services and media. It says those growth services continued to accelerate and now deliver 83 per cent of the company's revenues.
Bell revenues increased 4.4 per cent to $4.5 billion thanks also to Astral's contribution to Bell Media results. BCE says growth areas of the company more than offset an ongoing, but moderating, decline in traditional voice revenues.
Bell wireless revenues increased 4.5 per cent to $1.47 billion in the quarter, from $1.40 billion last year.
Bell Media operating revenue grew 40.7 per cent to $722 million thanks to higher advertising and subscriber fees from the Astral acquisition. Rate increases in specialty TV services and higher revenues from new mobile content deals also helped boost Bell Media's bottom line.
Bell Aliant revenues decreased 1.2 per cent to $676 million in the first quarter due to continued declines in voice (local and access and long distance) revenues, as well as intense competitive pricing pressures.
BCE's cash flows from operations were $982 million in the quarter, down slightly from $1.04 billion in the same period last year as a decrease at Bell Aliant which partly offset by an increase at Bell.
The company's board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.6175 per common share.
BCE Inc., which owns Bell Canada, CTV Inc. and other media and telecom companies, says its guidance targets outlined on Feb. 6 remain on track. Bell's revenue growth is expected to range from two to four per cent for the year while BCE`s adjusted earnings-per-share is expected to be in the $3.10-$3.20 range.
As of March 31, BCE says served a total of 7.9 million wireless subscribers, up 1.2 per cent from a year ago and total TV subscribers totalling 2.52 million, up 8.1 per cent. The number of Internet subscribers grew 3.4 per cent to 3.16 million
BCE also has 1.33 million mobile subscribers, up 67 per cent year-over-year. Bell Fibe TV added 54,680 net new customers during the quarter, up 15.2 per cent. The company says its total number of TV subscribers rose 8.1 per cent to 2.52 million.