Telus Corp. has capped what its CEO is calling an "exceptional year" with an almost 23 per cent increase in fourth-quarter profit, fuelled by a six per cent increase in revenue.
The Vancouver-based provider of wireless, wireline, data, Internet and television services, says net earnings were $291 million, or 89 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31.
That was up from $237 million, or 76 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2011. Both periods included favourable tax-related adjustments of $10 million.
Earnings per share on an adjusted basis were 86 cents in the quarter, missing the average estimate of analysts compiled by Thomson Reuters by a penny per share.
Revenue rose to $2.85 billion from $2.69 billion.
President and CEO Darren Entwistle said "2012 was an exceptional year for Telus, fuelled by our long-term strategy of investing in broadband data technology and services and applications within our core business."
Consolidated revenue growth was generated by an eight per cent increase in wireless revenue, due to continued subscriber and data average revenue per unit growth, and a 13 per cent increase in wireline data revenue.
Telus faces CRTC grilling
Telus recently told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which is holding public hearings into industry practices, that a $50 cap on extra wireless data charges such as roaming fees would be too low.
Under the CRTC's draft wireless code, wireless companies would have to suspend some services when a customer reaches either $50 in additional charges over and above what they pay for their monthly plan – though roaming fees, for example – or an amount each consumer would set.
Telus has told the commission it already caps charges incurred outside Canada at $200.
Telus finished the year with 13.1 million customer connections, adding 132,000 connections in the final quarter of the year. That included 123,000 new postpaid wireless customers, 41,000 new TV subscribers and 23,000 high-speed Internet customers, partially offset by losses of prepaid wireless customers, phone lines and dial-up Internet.
The company's wireless subscriber base of 7.7 million was up 4.5 per cent year over year, the Telus TV subscriber base of 678,000 was up 33 per cent and the number of high-speed Internet customers was up nearly seven per cent to 1.3 million.
Telus now has just one class of common shares after consolidating both voting and non-voting shares after a lengthy battled with U.S. hedge fund Mason Capital Management. Mason wanted the voting shares to be given a higher value in any consolidation.
At one time, the hedge fund was the largest shareholder in Telus, but has since reduced its stake.