(Toronto) Rogers Communications’ fourth-quarter profits were boosted by higher roaming revenue, as travel resumed, and improved returns from sports advertising and its Toronto Blue Jays franchise, with the standardization of activities in this sector.
The telecommunications giant, which is still awaiting a final decision on its acquisition of Shaw Communications for 26 billion, posted a profit of 508 million for its fourth quarter on Thursday, up from 405 million in the same quarter a year earlier. , with revenues up 6%.
Chief executive Tony Staffieri said the results showed a turnaround, a year after he took office amid a board dispute.
“We have made significant progress, and we have done so against the backdrop of a lingering pandemic, a new management team and one of the largest merger proposals in Canadian history. »
On the merger itself, the company is only awaiting a final decision from Federal Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, while other regulatory issues were settled in January, including with the Bureau competition.
Earlier this week, the companies involved in the deal agreed to extend the deadline to close the deal to February 17.
Mr. Staffieri pointed out that two federal courts have now ruled in favor of the transactions, which include the sale of Shaw’s wireless carrier, Freedom Mobile, to Videotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor. He added that since the matter was before the federal government, he would not comment further on the status of the transaction.
The company’s chief financial officer, Glenn Brandt, said the company has all the necessary funds to close the deal and has extended the $13 billion in funding from the bond issue until the end. of the year.
Along with the acquisition, the company plans to build on its financial momentum in the coming year. Rogers expects revenue to grow 4% to 7%, while growth in adjusted earnings before deductions is expected to be between 5% and 8%. Capital expenditures are expected to be between $3.1 billion and $3.3 billion, compared to $3.03 billion last year.
Capital expenditures last year focused on investing in networks, as Rogers sought to invest in expanding access to the 5G network as well as improving its reliability, which has become a challenge. all the more important after a highly publicized outage last summer.
Mr. Staffieri explained that the company focuses on reliability as a key element in retaining customers.
“Price is always important. The most important factor is the reliability of the internet, and this has become critical even in the consumer space, because there is a lot of telecommuting. »
The wireless customer turnover ratio — a key metric in the telecommunications industry — increased last quarter from a year earlier, but a higher overall number of customers, as well as a 140% increase in revenue roaming, helped increase service revenues by 7% in the quarter. Media revenue increased 17%, largely due to sports-related items.
Total revenue was 4.17 billion, up from 3.92 billion in the previous fourth quarter.
Earnings per share for the telecommunications group hit $1 for the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from 80 cents for the same period in 2021.
On an adjusted basis, Rogers earned earnings per share of $1.09 in the most recent quarter, compared to 96 cents in the last three months of 2021.