(Correct number of job cuts in third paragraph.)
Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B) climbed to its highest level in more than four years after reporting profit that surpassed estimates, helped by an 18 percent jump in smartphone data spending and cost cuts.
Rogers advanced 3.3 percent to C$42.43 at 4 p.m. in Toronto, the highest price since June 2008. Canada’s largest wireless carrier has climbed 8.1 percent this year .
Rogers has responded to faster growth in wireless and discounting by smaller rivals BCE Inc. (BCE) and Telus Corp. (T) with its own deals to retain smartphone customers. To absorb the impact of subsidies on popular devices like Apple Inc. (AAPL:US)’s iPhone, Rogers squeezed more costs from operations, including cutting 300 job in March and 375 more in June.
“The wireless improvement continues,” said Drew McReynolds, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.
The carrier’s average monthly revenue from both customers on contracts and prepaid clients, who typically look for cheaper calling plans, was little changed at C$61.92 ($62.45) during the quarter, beating McReynolds’ C$61.20 estimate.
The gain in average revenue “represents a solid improvement” over declines in the past several quarters, said McReynolds. He rates Rogers the equivalent of a buy.
Third-quarter profit rose to 96 Canadian cents a share, the Toronto-based company said today in a statement, excluding stock-based compensation expenses and restructuring and acquisition costs. That beat the average estimate of 89 cents from analysts’ predictions compiled by Bloomberg.
While equipment costs and customer retention spending both climbed last quarter, other operating expenses dropped 4.4 percent to C$667 million, Rogers said.
Sales gained 1.4 percent to C$3.18 billion. Analysts anticipated C$3.16 billion on average. Net income declined 5.1 percent to C$466 million, or 90 cents a share, compared with C$491 million, or 87 cents, a year earlier.
Rogers is the first of the big three Canadian carriers to report third-quarter earnings. BCE and Telus, which have narrowed the gap with Rogers in total wireless subscribers in recent quarters, are scheduled to report earnings Nov. 1 and Nov. 9, respectively.
Rogers added 76,000 subscribers with contracts, the long- term customers who typically buy a smartphone and spend more on data, below Yaghi’s estimate of 85,000. McReynolds predicted BCE will add 120,000 postpaid subscribers, and Telus, 129,000.
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