* Fourth-quarter profit C$0.89 vs C$0.76 a year ago
* Expects 2013 revenue growth between 4 and 6 percent
* Shares hit historic high, up 1.8 pct in afternoon
(Adds executive and analyst comments, stock price, industry
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Feb 15 Telus Corp, one of
Canada's three biggest telecom companies, reported a 23 percent
rise in quarterly profit on Friday, helped by strength in its
wireless business and a surprising burst of growth from its
Telus shares rose to their highest-ever level on Friday as
the Vancouver company also gave a robust outlook for the current
The company said fixed-line earnings rose for the first time
in two years, thanks to a strong performance at its Optik TV
product, which sends content to customers' television screens
and other devices via the Internet.
"It's good to see Telus finally get some financial traction
from all their investment in broadband and TV," said Canaccord
Genuity analyst Dvai Ghose.
Telus competes against cable company Shaw Communications Inc
for television and Internet customers in Western
Canada and against Rogers Communications Inc and BCE
Inc's Bell for wireless subscribers across the country.
The growth in the fixed-line business bucks a broad industry
trend of customers relying increasingly on mobile devices for
communication and entertainment.
"There are not many telcos on the planet that are growing
wireline revenue," Telus' chief executive, Darren Entwistle,
said in an telephone interview.
Telus said net income rose to C$291 million, or 89 Canadian
cents a share, in the three months to the end of December,
compared with C$237 million, or 76 cents, a year earlier.
Operating revenue rose 6 percent to C$2.85 billion.
Analysts had on average expected Telus to earn 87 Canadian
cents a share on revenue of C$2.8 billion, according to Thomson
Telus signed up 123,000 net new postpaid wireless
subscribers, who typically pay more to use high-end smartphones.
By comparison, Bell added 144,000 postpaid customers in the
same period, while Rogers added 58,000.
THE LEADERS ARE ALL RIGHT
Telus said its wireless customers paid an average of C$60.95
a month for service, as booming data usage more than offset
falling voice calls.
Telus, unlike its rivals, has not acquired companies
producing the content distributed over its network. But it has
moved forcefully to increase fixed-line revenue through Optik
TV, which is challenging Shaw's dominant cable television
Telus said it added 41,000 TV customers in the quarter.
Both Shaw and Telus have backed away from aggressive pricing
promotions that had threatened margins, although Telus is still
offering a free high-definition television set for people who
sign up for three years of Optik and home Internet service.
Shaw last month said higher rates had offset slipping TV
Telus expects revenue growth of between 4 and 6 percent in
2013, and earnings per share of between C$3.80 and C$4.20.
Telus shares have risen some 18 percent in the last 12
months as investors focus on strong cash generation and healthy
dividend growth; the company raised its dividend by 10 percent
in 2011 and in 2012.
Telus said it would announce at its annual meeting in May
its future plans for the dividend.
Telus shares were up 1.8 percent at $67.95 on Friday
afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(Additional reporting by John Tilak in Toronto; editing by
Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)