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Shaw headquarters fire costs hit $11-million

People walk past the headquarters of Shaw Communications in Calgary, Alta., in this file photo.


An electrical fire at a Shaw Communications Inc.'s Calgary headquarters that threw the city into a state of emergency as it scrambled to restore key services has cost the company $11-million so far, the company said as it reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings.

The July fire temporarily took down radio stations and affected both hospitals and the city's 911 emergency service. It forced the city to implement its emergency management measures to ensure essential services were able to remain operational.

The company's regulatory filings show it has received $5-million from its insurance company to help repair the damage caused by the explosion in the building's electrical room, and that Shaw "incurred additional costs of $6 million in respect of ongoing restoration and recovery activities."

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The cable television company, which also owns Global Television and 19 specialty channels including Food Network Canada and History Television, said its efforts to offer new products to its customers and subscribers helped it boost its numbers in the quarter. It launched an app that allows cable subscribers to access their shows on-the-go, and is in the midst of developing an all-news television service in British Columbia.

While the advertising outlook has remained cloudy for Canadian media companies, Shaw provided a glimmer of optimism in its report as it noted "improved advertising and subscriber revenues" in the quarter. The first quarter is typically strong for television companies, because many new shows are debuted.

"We will remain focused on disciplined and sustainable pricing strategies, customer retention, and long term growth," chief executive officer Brad Shaw said in a statement. "We are off to a solid start for the year and will continue to drive ongoing performance and value."

Shaw reported a $235-million profit for the quarter, up from $202-million in the same quarter last year. Revenue came in at $1.3-billion, compared to last year's $1.2-billion. Revenue in its cable division increased 2 per cent to $809-million, its satellite revenue increased 2 per cent to $214-million and the media division posted a seven per cent increase to $319-million.

It also said it would boost its monthly dividend by five per cent, bringing it to 8.5 cents.

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