Rogers Communications RCI reported third-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share that beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 30.6%.
Total revenues of $2.75 billion also beat the consensus mark by 9.3%.
Adjusted earnings declined 9.2% year over year to C$1.08 per share. Total revenues decreased 2.4% year over year to C$3.66 billion due to decline in Wireless service and equipment revenues as a result of lower subscriber activity attributed to the coronavirus outbreak.
Rogers Communication, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Rogers Communication, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Rogers Communication, Inc. Quote
Wireless (60.8% of total revenues) decreased 4.1% from the year-ago quarter to C$2.22 billion as a result of lower roaming revenues due to global travel restrictions during COVID-19 and reduced overage revenues, primarily as a result of continued adoption of Rogers Infinite unlimited data plans.
During the quarter, the company expanded Canada's first and largest 5G network to 130 cities and towns.
Additionally, Rogers launched a 5G Smart Campus at University of Waterloo to help enable the research and commercialization of madein-Canada 5G technology and applications
Moreover, the company announced the acquisitions of Cable Cable Inc. and Ruralwave Inc., and local telecommunications companies in the Ontario Kawartha Lakes region to expand its network and serve more customers.
Service revenues dropped 8.6% to C$1.65 billion, thanks to contraction in prepaid subscriber base and blended average revenue per user (ARPU) as a result of lower roaming revenues associated with drop in overall roaming activity due to travel barriers and decrease in overage revenues due to faster adoption of Rogers Infinite unlimited data plan launched last quarter.
Equipment revenues were up 11.6% to C$576 million due to higher device upgrades by existing customers.
Monthly blended ARPU was C$51.1, down 8.7% year over year primarily as a result of declines in overage and roaming revenues. Meanwhile, monthly blended average billing per user (ABPU) was C$63.6, down 5.4% primarily as a result of declines in roaming, overage, and other fee revenues due to COVID-19.
As of Sep 30, 2020, prepaid subscriber base totaled almost 1.3 million, highlighting a loss of 178K subscribers from the year-ago quarter. Monthly churn rate was 3.46% compared with 4.74% in the year-ago quarter.
As of Sep 30, 2020, postpaid wireless subscriber base totaled roughly 9.56 million, up 209K from the year-ago quarter driven by strong adoption of Rogers Infinite plans by new customers. Monthly churn rate was 1.1% compared with 1.2% in the year-ago quarter.
Postpaid subscriber growth was driven by gradual store openings and an increase in market activity by Canadians.
Segment operating expenses declined 4% from the year-ago quarter to C$1.13 billion.
Adjusted EBITDA decreased 4.3% year over year to C$1.08 billion. Adjusted EBITDA margin contracted 10 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis to 48.9%.
Cable revenues (27% of total revenues) declined 0.6% year over year to C$988 million due to bundled pricing constructs that provided home phone for a lower cost and movement of Internet customers to higher speed and waiving certain fees. Service revenues decreased 0.4% year over year to C$985 million.
As of Sep 30, 2020, Internet subscriber count was nearly 2.57 million, up 67K from the year-ago quarter.
During the quarter, Rogers launched Ignite SmartStream, an entertainment add-on for Ignite Internet customers, to give customers access to their favorite streaming services in one place.
Ignite TV subscriber count was nearly 437K in the Television segment, reflecting an increase of 253K from the year-ago quarter.
The company expanded free content on Ignite TV with the introduction of two apps, Fun at Home and Health at Home.
Equipment revenues declined 40% year over year to C$3 million.
Segment operating expenses decreased 3% from the year-ago quarter to C$480 million.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 1.8% year over year to C$508 million. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 120 bps on a year-over-year basis to 51.4%.
Media (13.3% of total revenues) improved 1.2% from the year-ago quarter to C$489 million, primarily as a result of higher revenues associated with the resumption of NHL hockey, partially offset by lower revenues at the Toronto Blue Jays due to COVID-19.
Segment operating expenses increased 13.3% year over year to C$400 million, primarily attributed to higher programming costs, as a result of the resumption of NHL hockey.
Operating costs decreased 0.1% to C$2.02 billion. As a percentage of revenues, operating costs expanded 90 bps to 55.3%.
Adjusted EBITDA declined 4.3% year over year to C$1.63 billion. Adjusted EBITDA margin contracted 90 bps to 44.7%.
During the quarter, Rogers announced agreement with Altice USA, Inc to purchase all of the Canadian assets of Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. for a net purchase price of approximately $4.9 billion.
On Oct 18, Altice USA presented a revised offer to Cogeco. If the offer is accepted by Cogeco, Rogers would acquire Cogeco’s Canadian assets for $6 billion, less the value of Rogers’ investment in Cogeco of $2.3 billion (which is inclusive of the bid premium), for net cash consideration of $3.7 billion.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow Details
As of Sep 30, 2020, Rogers Communications had $5.5 billion of available liquidity, including $2.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents and a combined $3.3 billion available under bank credit facility compared with C$1.8 billion at the end of the previous quarter.
Cash provided by operating activities dropped 24.4% year over year to C$986 million. Free cash flow increased 13.2% year over year to C$868 million.
Rogers Communications paid C$253 million in dividends in the reported quarter.
The company ended the third quarter with a debt leverage ratio (adjusted net debt/adjusted EBITDA) of 3, up 20 bps from the year-ago quarter.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Rogers Communications currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Activision Blizzard, Inc ATVI, Electronic Arts Inc. EA and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. LGF.A are some better-ranked stocks in the broader consumer discretionary sector, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Lions Gate Entertainment are set to report their quarterly results on Oct 29, Nov 5 and Nov 5, respectively.
Biggest Tech Breakthrough in a Generation
Be among the early investors in the new type of device that experts say could impact society as much as the discovery of electricity. Current technology will soon be outdated and replaced by these new devices. In the process, it’s expected to create 22 million jobs and generate $12.3 trillion in activity.
A select few stocks could skyrocket the most as rollout accelerates for this new tech. Early investors could see gains similar to buying Microsoft in the 1990s. Zacks’ just-released special report reveals 8 stocks to watch. The report is only available for a limited time.
See 8 breakthrough stocks now>>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Rogers Communication, Inc. (RCI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Activision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF.A) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Zacks Investment Research