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Cogeco president and CEO Louis Audet.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Cable television distributor and media company Cogeco Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profits soared nearly 72 per cent, net income rising to $21.1-million as revenues improved 12.5 per cent.

The profit amounted to $1.26 per share in the three-month period ended Aug. 31, up from $12.3-million a year earlier, or 73 cents per share. Revenues jumped to $375.4-million, up from $333.7-million, the company said.

The results were above estimates from analysts compiled by Thomson Reuters who had looked on average for earnings per share of 86 cents on $374-million of revenues.

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"Cogeco posted strong results for fiscal 2011, a year marked by both organic and external growth," chief executive Louis Audet said in a news release.

"In 2011, we welcomed Corus Quebec radio stations, Quiettouch and MTO into the COGECO family," Mr. Audet said of recent acquisitions.

At Cogeco Cable Inc , the main operating subsidiary of Cogeco Inc., quarterly profits grew 75.4 per cent to $69.6-million, or $1.42 per share, an increase from $39.7-million, or 81 cent per share, a year earlier. Revenues were up eight per cent to $350.2-million, from $324.3-million.

Analysts had expected Cogeco Cable to earn 90 cents per share on $349-million of revenues during the quarter.

Cogeco Cable also announced it will increase its quarterly dividend to 25 cents, representing an increase of five cents. The dividend will be payable on Nov. 23 to shareholders of record on Nov. 9.

"For fiscal 2012, we expect growth in most of our performance indicators. Our primary focus will be to integrate our new acquisitions, strengthen our competitive positioning and continuously improve our processes and practices to create more value for our customers, announcers, listeners, shareholders and employees."

For fiscal 2012, Cogeco Inc. said it expects revenue of about $1.567-billion and operating income before amortization of roughly $615-million.

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Cogeco is the fourth-largest cable operator in Canada and has the second-largest cable system in Ontario, after Rogers Communications Inc., and No. 2 in Quebec after Quebecor's Videotron in terms of the number of basic cable service customers.

The Montreal company also has a Portuguese subsidiary, which has faced difficult economic and market conditions since Cogeco Cable acquired it.

Desjardins Financial analyst Maher Yaghi said Cogeco Cable reported better quarterly results than expected due to stronger margins in Canada.

Mr. Yaghi said the cable division's total revenue of $350-million was up eight per cent year-over-year and was in line with his estimate. In Canada, revenue of $307-million was in line with our forecast for cable operations, he added.

Subscriber growth was in line with expectations, with basic cable losses of 1,369 versus Mr. Yaghi's estimate of a loss of 500, Internet additions of 7,746 compared with his estimate of 8,200 and cable telephony additions of 13,363. Mr. Yaghi said he had estimated cable telephony additions of 13,500.

In Portugal, cable subscribers were slightly below forecasts while financial results were marginally better.

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