Rogers Q4 net up 8%, boosts dividend

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Rogers Communications Inc. said fourth-quarter earnings rose 8% and revenue edged up 1% as new smartphone customers continued to grow.

The Toronto-based communications giant also boosted its quarterly dividend 11% to 39.5 Canadian cents a share, and said it plans to renew its buyback program for up to C$1 billion of stock.
Rogers earned C$327 million or 61 Canadian cents a share in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, up from C$302 million or 50 Canadian cents a year earlier.
Adjusted earnings, which exclude items such as stock-based compensation and certain expenses, rose 10% to C$372 million or 70 Canadian cents a share. The Thomson Reuters mean estimate was for earnings of 67 Canadian cents a share.
Revenue edged up to C$3.18 billion from C$3.14 billion, but fell just shy of the C$3.20 billion projected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Wireless revenue climbed 2%, while revenue from cable operations rose 3%.
Rogers said its wireless division activated and upgraded about 791,000 smartphones in the latest quarter, up from about 635,000 a year earlier, boosting the percentage of subscribers with smartphones to 56% of its overall postpaid subscriber base from 41% a year earlier.
It said overall subscriber net additions were lower, however, mainly due to a higher level of churn – or the rate at which customers disconnect from a wireless service – as a result of increased competition. Wireless postpaid net additions fell 7%, while prepaid net additions dropped 69%.