Rogers Communications Inc., a leading diversified Canadian communications and media company, today announced its unaudited consolidated financial and operating results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2014.
1 Adjusted amounts and free cash flow are non-GAAP measures and should not be considered as a
substitute or alternative for GAAP measures. They are not defined terms under IFRS, and do not have
standard meanings, so may not be a reliable way to compare us to other companies. See "Non-GAAP
Measures" for information about these measures, including how we calculate them.
"We saw a healthy acceleration in revenue growth and adjusted operating profit along with improvement in Wireless revenue and ARPU," said Guy Laurence, President and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc. "We continued our shift from volume to value this quarter, and as expected we saw vibrations in both our Wireless and Cable subscriber metrics as we made certain commercial policy changes, consistent with our longer-term strategic goals. We remain committed to the strategy of providing our customers with added value while making the necessary adjustments to remain competitive in the market," added Laurence, "Rogers 3.0 is now up and running and we delivered a number of key commercial propositions in the quarter. For the full year, we delivered on our financial guidance and entered 2015 with a 5% dividend increase which reflects our financial strength and confidence in the future."
Higher operating revenue
Consolidated revenue increased 4% this quarter, reflecting revenue growth of 3% in Wireless and 20% in Media, stable revenue in Cable, and a decline of 1% in Business Solutions. Wireless revenue increased as a result of both higher network revenue from the continued adoption of higher ARPU-generating simplified plans and greater smartphone sales. Cable revenue was stable as continued Internet revenue growth was offset by decreased revenue in Television and Phone. Media revenue increased as a result of the NHL licensing agreement and growth at Sportsnet and Radio, partially offset by continued softness in conventional broadcast TV and print advertising.
Activated 836,000 wireless smartphones this quarter, of which 28% were new subscribers, with higher-value smartphone customers growing to represent 84% of Wireless postpaid subscribers.
Strong adjusted operating profit
The 6% increase in consolidated adjusted operating profit this quarter reflects increases in Wireless of 4%, in Business Solutions of 17% and in Media of 59%, partially offset by a decrease in Cable of 2%. Wireless experienced higher network revenues, partially offset by higher costs for subsidized smartphones sold. Cable results were impacted by investments in programming and customer value enhancement related costs. Media benefitted from the impact of higher revenues and cost efficiencies in Television and Publishing.
Consolidated adjusted operating profit margin increased by 60 basis points to 36.6% this quarter with margins of 42.6% in Wireless and 48.7% in Cable. The NHL licensing agreement was margin-neutral on a consolidated basis.
The reductions of 1% in adjusted net income and 7% in net income are mainly due to a 10% increase in depreciation and amortization which more than offset the 6% increase in adjusted operating profit.
Maintained strong balance sheet and available liquidity
Generated $275 million of consolidated free cash flow this quarter, representing an increase of 152%, while cash provided by operating activities was $1,031 million this quarter, representing a decrease of 4%.
Approximately $2.8 billion of available liquidity as at December 31, 2014, including $0.2 billion of cash, $2.5 billion available under the bank credit facility and $0.1 billion available under the accounts receivable securitization program.
Returned $235 million of cash to shareholders through the payment of our 45.75 cents per share quarterly cash dividend, which was 5% greater than in the same period of 2013. Earlier today, we announced that the Rogers Board has authorized an annualized dividend rate increase of 5% to $1.92 per share effective immediately.
Overhaul the customer experience
Launched Roam Like Home, a simple and cost effective way for Wireless customers to use the Internet, make calls, send texts and emails in the US with their Rogers Share Everything Plan, letting them access their Canadian wireless plans while they are in the US.
Reduced annual customer complaints by more than 30% from the previous year as reported by the federal Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) in its annual report. The report registers the number of complaints made by customers of major telecom service providers.
Appointed executive leaders with significant experience in our industry and global best practices:
Deepak Khandelwal joined Rogers as Chief Customer Officer. Mr. Khandelwal was previously at Google where he served as head of Global Customer Experience with customers in over 100 countries worldwide.
Nitin Kawale joined Rogers as President, Enterprise Business Unit. Mr. Kawale is the former President of Cisco Systems Canada where he was responsible for all aspects of the Canadian operations including sales, marketing, finance, distribution and services.
Jacob Glick was appointed to the newly created position of Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. Prior to Rogers, Mr. Glick held a number of leadership positions at Google, including head of their Global Central Public Policy and Government Relations teams.
Dirk Woessner was appointed as President, Consumer Business Unit, effective April 6, 2015. Mr. Woessner was previously at Deutsche Telekom where he held a number of leadership positions with Telekom Deutschland and T-Mobile in the UK and Germany.
Announced an agreement under which Rogers will own 50% of Glentel Inc. (Glentel), including its several hundred Canadian wireless retail distribution outlets, subject to regulatory approval.
Focus on innovation and network leadership
First Canadian carrier to launch LTE-Advanced, now available in various communities across Canada. This next evolution of LTE wireless technology combines Rogers' 700 MHz and AWS spectrum so customers can download and live stream high quality video in more places on mobiles and tablets. During this quarter, LTE-Advanced was launched in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Windsor, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, Moncton, Fredericton, Halifax and Saint John.
Deliver compelling content everywhere
Reaching 22 million Canadians, Hockey Night in Canada continues to be the most-watched sporting event in Canada in a typical week with viewership up 12% from last year since the national NHL rights were acquired by Rogers. Audiences on Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey on Sportsnet are up 14% this year, while Rogers Hometown Hockey on City has increased the network's audiences on Sunday nights by 50%. Since the start of the NHL season, audiences on Sportsnet ONE are up 33% and up 40% on Sportsnet 360.
Launched Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE with more than 1,000 regular season games streamed wirelessly and online, available on smartphones, tablets and computers, and with significantly enhanced features. Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE is available to all Canadians and was offered free on an introductory basis to Rogers wireless data and Internet customers. Exclusively available to Rogers customers as an exciting added new dimension to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE is GamePlus, which streams unique camera angles, on-demand replays and more interviews, including the ability to watch live and review big plays from up to seven different camera angles.
Launched shomi, an exciting new subscription video-on-demand streaming service available on mobile, tablet, online, and through our cable set-top boxes. shomi ups the ante in online and televised entertainment with the most popular shows on TV today, iconic series from the past, fan-favourite films and a library of kids programming. Available to Rogers and Shaw Television or Internet customers, shomi has an easy to use interface and more personalized selections for customers. shomi is a joint venture equally owned by Rogers and Shaw Communications.
Partnered with VICE Media in a joint agreement to deliver Canadian-made news and entertainment programming across mobile, web and TV platforms in 2015. VICE Canada properties will include a state-of-the-art multimedia production facility in Toronto that will produce content for use globally, the VICE TV Network, mobile content and VICE's network of Canadian digital properties.
Drive growth in the business market
Launched Rogers Talks, a series of free events across Canada for small businesses in conjunction with Small Business Month. Experts in social media, marketing and sales were on hand to talk about how technology can help small business owners grow.
Invest in and develop our people
Recognized as one of Canada's top employers for the second straight year by Canada's Top 100 Employers, a national competition now entering its 16th year which looks at more than 3,250 Canadian employers. In addition, Rogers was for the first time named to the elite top 10 list of the best companies to work for in Canada by Canada's Top 100 Employers 2015.
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