Shaw Communications profit beats on higher wireless subscriptions

(Reuters) - Shaw Communications Inc on Monday topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit as more subscribers signed up for the Canadian telecom company’s postpaid wireless services, sending its shares up 3 percent.

FILE PHOTO: The Shaw logo is pictured on their Barlow Trail building, home to the annual Shaw AGM, in Calgary, Alberta January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol

In its first quarter, Shaw expanded its network for customers in Calgary by launching high-speed wireless spectrum, as it continues to face stiff competition from Telus Corp, Rogers Communications Inc and BCE Inc’s Bell Canada.

The company added 65,615 wireless subscribers in the quarter and its total wireless revenue rose nearly 60 percent to C$273 million ($205.71 million).

In addition to the spectrum distribution, the company is also seeking to expand its wireless network into new areas, mostly in Western Canada.

Revenue from the core wireline business rose slightly to C$1.08 billion.

Telecom service providers in Canada have also been investing heavily in the next generation 5G network to attract data-hungry customers. Shaw completed its first 5G technical trials in Calgary in May 2018.

The company said it was set to meet its fiscal 2019 outlook, which included an estimated free cash flow of C$500 million and capital investment of about C$1.2 billion.

However, Paul McAleese, president - wireless, said on a conference call with analysts that media reports about flattening out of smartphones sales may impact the company’s 2019 numbers.

The Calgary-based company’s net income rose to C$187 million ($140.9 million), or 36 Canadian cents per share, for the first quarter ended Nov.30.

Excluding items, the company earned 36 Canadian cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 31 Canadian cents per share, according IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s quarterly revenue rose 8.8 percent to C$1.36 billion.

Shares of the company were trading higher at $26.76 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting By Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel and Arun Koyyur