(Adds analyst comment, details on results, updates shares)
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO May 11 Canadian telecommunications
provider Telus Corp on Thursday reported profit that beat
analysts' forecasts as it attracted more postpaid wireless
customers and got them to pay more, even in the face of
The Vancouver-based company's shares rose as much as 1.3
percent in morning trading to a record high of $46.29, then
pared those gains to trade flat.
Telus said it added 44,000 postpaid wireless subscribers in
the first quarter ended March 31. Analysts had expected about
17,000 additions, according to Desjardins and RBC Capital
Telus' national wireless business is bigger, more profitable
and faster growing than its Western Canada-focused fixed-line
operations. Its focus on providing good customer service seems
to have helped it thwart efforts by rival Shaw Communications
Inc and others to win away customers, analysts said.
"Their leadership in customer service is showing in very low
churn," said Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi. "Customers don't
seem to be as willing to switch out of Telus."
Telus said its average monthly wireless bill was C$65.53, up
4 percent from a year earlier, as consumers increasingly stream
video and other data-intensive services on their phones.
Telus is Canada's third major wireless provider to report
first-quarter results. Rogers Communications Inc added
60,000 net postpaid wireless subscribers in its first quarter,
while BCE Inc's Bell signed on fewer than 36,000.
Telus' capital expenditures jumped in the quarter as it
modernized its broadband and wireless networks. It raised its
full-year capital spending target to C$3 billion from a previous
goal of C$2.9 billion.
Telus showed decent performance in Western Canada even as
Shaw reported strong cable subscriber growth there, Desjardins'
Telus is in a heated battle with Shaw, which has recently
beefed up its high-speed internet and cable TV products.
The strong growth for both major Western Canadian companies
comes as Alberta recovers from an economic slowdown caused by a
prolonged slump in oil prices from late 2014 though early 2016.
Telus also raised its dividend to the low end of its target
range, and slightly raised its 2017 revenue and earnings per
Net income rose to C$441 million, or 73 Canadian cents per
share, from C$378 million, or 64 Canadian cents, a year earlier.
Revenue climbed 2.9 percent to C$3.20 billion.
Analysts had expected Telus to earn 71 Canadian cents a
share on revenue of C$3.22 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
($1 = 1.3734 Canadian dollars)
(Additional reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by
Sai Sachin Ravikumar and James Dalgleish)