Rogers Communications RCI reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 76 cents per share that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.6%.
Total revenues of $2.99 billion also missed the consensus mark by 1%.
Adjusted earnings decreased 11.5% year over year to C$1 per share. Total revenues increased 0.6% year over year to C$3.95 billion.
Notably, fourth-quarter 2019 results were reported per IFRS 16.
During the quarter, Rogers announced collaboration with Cubic Telecom to provide a connected car solution in Canada and the United States by integrating Cubic Telecom’s Platform for Application and Connectivity Enablement with Rogers’ mobile network.
Rogers Communication, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Rogers Communication, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Rogers Communication, Inc. Quote
Wireless (63.1% of total revenues) increased 1.2% from the year-ago quarter to C$2.49 billion.
During the quarter, Rogers announced investments in its wireless network to enhance connectivity in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation for Rogers and Fido customers.
Service revenues decreased 1% to C$1.78 billion, attributable to decrease in prepaid subscriber base and blended average revenue per user (ARPU) as a result of overage revenues due to faster adoption of Rogers Infinite unlimited data plan launched last quarter.
During the quarter, the company introduced Rogers Pro On-the-Go, a new retail service that delivers and sets up wireless devices at a customer’s location of choice.
Equipment revenues were up 7.1% to C$705 million due to increase in gross postpaid subscribers. However, this was offset by lower device upgrades by existing users in the reported quarter.
Monthly blended ARPU was C$55.26, down 1.2% year over year. Meanwhile, monthly blended average billing per user (ABPU) was C$66.17, up 1.6% primarily a result of an ongoing shift in the product mix of device sales toward higher-value devices.
As of Dec 31, 2019, prepaid subscriber base totaled almost 1.4 million, a loss of 224K subscribers from the year-ago quarter. Monthly churn rate was 5.58% compared with 5.85% in the year-ago quarter.
As of Dec 31, 2019, postpaid wireless subscriber base totaled roughly 9.44 million, up 281K from the year-ago quarter driven by strong adoption of Rogers Infinite plans by new customers. Monthly churn rate was 1.26% compared with 1.23% in the year-ago quarter.
Segment operating expense decreased 0.5% from the year-ago quarter to C$1.43 billion.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 3.5% year over year to C$1.06 billion. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 100 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis to 42.7%.
Cable revenues (25% of total revenues) were flat year over year and came in at C$987 million. The stable revenues were due to higher Internet subscriber base and the movement of television customers to higher content tiers. Service revenues were flat year over year.
Internet revenues increased 7.3% due to user shift toward higher-GB tiers and increase in subscriber base, partially offset by increased promotional activities. As of Dec 31, 2019, Internet subscriber count was nearly 2.53 million, up 104K from the year-ago quarter.
On Nov 20, Rogers announced that Amazon’s AMZN Amazon Prime streaming services app was available for subscribers on Ignite TV.
Television revenues were down 2.2% year over year due to decline in television subscriber base. This was offset by migration of subscribers from legacy TV product to Ignite TV and the movement of customers to higher content tiers.
Subscriber count was nearly 1.58 million in the Television segment, a decline of 106K from the year-ago quarter.
Phone revenues plunged 37.2% year over year primarily due to bundled discount pricing and decline in subscriber base. Subscriber count was nearly 1.07 million, a decline of 44K from the year-ago quarter.
Equipment revenues decreased 25% year over year to C$3 million.
Segment operating expense decreased 2% from the year-ago quarter to C$490 million.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 1.6% year over year to C$497 million. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 90 bps on a year-over-year basis to 50.4%.
Media (13.4% of total revenues) declined 1.9% from the year-ago quarter to C$530 million. The decline in revenues was primarily due to the sale of the company’s publishing business.
Segment operating expense increased 1.6% year over year to C$508 million primarily attributed to higher programming costs.
Adjusted EBITDA decreased 45% year over year to C$22 million.
Operating costs were flat year over year at C$2.42 billion. As a percentage of revenues, operating costs contracted 10 bps to 61.3%.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 0.6% from the year-ago quarter to C$1.53 billion. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 10 bps to 38.7%.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow Details
As of Dec 31, 2019, Rogers Communications had cash and cash equivalents of $494 million compared with $262 million at the end of the previous quarter.
Cash provided by operating activities increased 10.9% year over year to C$1.16 billion. Free cash flow increased 5.5% year over year to C$497 million attributed to lower capital expenditures and higher adjusted EBITDA, partially offset by higher interest on borrowings.
Rogers Communications paid C$256 million in dividends in the reported quarter. The company repurchased shares worth $357 million.
Rogers Communications ended the fourth quarter with a debt leverage ratio (adjusted net debt/adjusted EBITDA) of 2.9, up 40 bps from the end of 2018.
Guidance for 2020
Revenues are expected to be down 2% to up 2%. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase up to 2%.
Capital expenditure is expected in the range of C$2.7-2.9 billion. Free cash flow is expected to increase in the range of 2% to 4%.
The company expects to expand the Rogers 5G network to over 20 more markets in 2020.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Rogers Communications currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader consumer discretionary sector include DISH Network Corporation DISH and Sony Corporation SNE. Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Sony and DISH are set to report their quarterly earnings on Feb 4 and 12, respectively.
The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All
Last year, it generated $24 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $77.6 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.
See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>
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
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Sony Corporation (SNE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Rogers Communication, Inc. (RCI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
DISH Network Corporation (DISH) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Zacks Investment Research