BCE Posts Quarterly Profit in Line With Analysts’ Estimates

  • Carrier added 91,000 postpaid users during holiday season
  • Sees 2016 revenue growth of 1% to 3% amid fierce competition

BCE Inc., Canada’s largest telecommunications company, posted fourth-quarter profit that was in line with analysts’ estimates as competition for wireless customers picked up over the busy holiday season.

Earnings excluding some items were 72 Canadian cents a share, the Montreal-based company said in a statement Thursday. That matched the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales of C$5.6 billion compared with a projection for C$5.63 billion. The carrier added 91,000 contract wireless subscribers. Eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated an average of 96,000.

BCE shares rose 1.5 percent to C$57.56 at 11:32 a.m. in Toronto. The stock had gained 6.1 percent this year through Wednesday.

BCE fought for new customers with Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp. over the holidays by increasing offers and retention spending. The quarter was one of the most competitive in years, Rogers Chief Executive Officer Guy Laurence said when his company reported earnings last week. The three carriers, which together control 90 percent of the market, began increasing prices again last month.

BCE’s board plans to nominate Gordon Nixon, the former CEO of Royal Bank of Canada, to replace Chairman Thomas O’Neill, who is retiring in April. O’Neill has been a director since 2003 and became chairman in 2009. Nixon retired from Royal Bank in 2014 after running the company for 13 years.

  • Average revenue per wireless user was C$63.67. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated C$64.13 on average.
  • Annual share dividend will increase $0.13 per share to $2.73.
  • The company forecast revenue growth in 2016 will be 1 percent to 3 percent.
  • Added 38,908 new Internet customers, compared with 52,010 a year earlier.
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