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Thursday February 23, 2012

Rogers Q4 profit rises 8.3%

TORONTO: Rogers Communica-tions Inc, Canada’s largest wireless carrier, said fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.3%. helped by increasing wireless revenue as customers spent more time on their smartphones.

Net income climbed to C$327mil (US$328mil), or 61 cents a share, from C$302mil, or 50 cents, a year earlier, the Toronto-based company said in a statement. Rogers also said it would buy back as much as C$1bil of stock and raise its annual dividend by 11 percent to C$1.58 a share. – Reuters

. – Bloomberg

Rogers also said it would buy back as much as C$1 billion of stock and raised its annual dividend by 11 percent to C$1.58 a share.

Chief Executive Officer Nadir Mohamed is trying to stay ahead of BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. by touting Rogers’s network speed while also promoting its no-frills Chatr business. BCE and Telus posted quarterly earnings that trailed estimates as they spent more subsidizing expensive smartphones to avoid losing subscribers to Canada’s new carriers that offer mainly cheaper, contract-free plans.

Rogers’s sales climbed 1.2 percent to C$3.18 billion, missing the C$3.2 billion average projection by analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

During the quarter, Rogers added 42,000 subscribers on contracts, the long-term customers who typically buy a smartphone and spend more on data. That was down from 49,000 a year earlier and missed the 85,000 estimate of Maher Yaghi, a Desjardins Securities analyst in Montreal. He rates Rogers shares “hold.”

On that basis, BCE added 131,986 subscribers last quarter and Telus gained 148,000.

Rogers’s average monthly revenue from both contract and prepaid customers, who usually opt for cheaper calling plans, was C$58.82, down from C$61.31 a year earlier and less than Yaghi’s C$59.20 estimate.

Per-share profit excluding some items rose to 70 cents, exceeding the 65 cent average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Rogers fell 0.4 percent to C$37.77 yesterday in Toronto. The shares have dropped 3.8 percent this year.

(Rogers will hold a conference call on the results at 8 a.m. Toronto time. To listen, go to RCI/B CN CWP and click on the link under Investor Relations.)

--Editors: Ville Heiskanen, Cecile Daurat

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

02-22-12 0730EST

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