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Bell Canada raises FY dividend by over 5% after solid Q4

Thursday 8 February 2018 | 17:16 CET | News

Bell Canada reported fourth-quarter results in line with expectations, led by growth at Bell Wireless and Bell Wireline and the contribution from recently acquired Manitoba Telecom Services. The company said that as a result, it will be lifting its full-year dividend by 5.2 percent to CAD 3.02. 

BCE revenues advanced 4.5 percent from the year earlier to just under CAD 6 billion, taking full year revenues 4.6 percent higher to CAD 22.71 billion. The adjusted EBITDA rose 4.5 percent to CAD 2.21 billion, with the figure for the year lifting 4.4 percent to CAD 9.17 billion. The net profit meanwhile fell almost 12 percent in the quarter to CAD 617 million, and by 3.8 percent in the year to CAD 2.97 billion. Capex for the year increased to CAD 1.1 billion from 993 million the year earlier.  

Bell Wireless also had another strong quarter, helped by strong postpaid subscriber growth, higher ARPU and the takeover of MTS. Postpaid net additions were up 55.9 percent to 175,204, the company’s best quarterly performance in 15 years. Service revenues went up 10.6 percent and adjusted EBITDA by 9.2 percent. 

Postpaid customer churn improved 0.1 percentage point to 1.35 percent. At the end of the year, the company had almost 8.42 million postpaid customers, up 9.5 percent from the year before. Total wireless customers increased 8.2 percent to just under 9.17 million. Meanwhile, blended ARPU increased 2.4 percent to USD 68.27. 

At Bell Wireline, service revenues went 3.6 percent higher, helped by strong internet and IPTV subscriber growth, a 3.3 percent increase in household ARPU, higher business IP broadband connectivity revenue, and the contribution of MTS. The gains were partially offset by the impact of bundle discounts, regulation and competition in general. Adjusted EBITDA grew over 4 percent. 

High-speed internet additions grew almost 47 percent to 27,040, taking the total at year end to 3.79 million (+9% y-o-y), including 1 million FTTH customers. Bell TV added 32,484 new IPTV subscribers in the quarter, slowing from the 35,905 gained the year earlier. At the end of the year, the total number of IPTV subscribers amounted to 1.55 million (+ almost 16%).

For the full year 2018, BCE is guiding for revenues and adjusted EBITDA each up 2-4 percent.



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