The Hamilton Spectator

Rogers profit falls after Shaw merger


The chief executive of Rogers Communicat­ions Inc. dismissed analyst concerns about wireless customers leaving the carrier, saying the company was focused on its premium brand where performanc­e was stronger.

Speaking Thursday on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri said there was a “heightened level of what I would call promotiona­l activity in the bottom end of the market” toward the end of last year, suggesting customers opted for rival carriers that offered better deals.

He said that caused Rogers’ brands such as Fido, part of a group of discount brands called flankers, to lose some phone customers to rivals.

The company’s overall monthly churn for net postpaid mobile phone subscriber­s — a closely watched industry measure of those who cancelled their service — was 1.67 per cent, up from 1.24 per cent during its previous fourth quarter.

“I’ll jump to the punchline, which is we’re not concerned about what we’re seeing on churn,” Staffieri said. “We chose to focus — and not that we neglected that segment — but our focus was on the premium. So when you look at gross adds for us, they’re up significan­tly year on year. The vast, vast majority of those came in on the Rogers brand.”

Rogers reported its net increase in postpaid mobile phone subscriber­s totalled 184,000 for the threemonth period, which it credited to “sales execution in a growing Canadian market.” The figure was down 4.7 per cent from the 193,000 additions recorded the same period last year.

Staffieri said churn associated with the Rogers mobile brand is “substantia­lly lower than Fido.” He added that the flurry of deals started to fade in the first quarter of 2024, while sidesteppi­ng an analyst question about whether Rogers’ recently announced price increases could further affect its churn rate.

Rogers reported Thursday its fourth-quarter net income fell 35 per cent compared with a year ago as it was hit by costs related to its acquisitio­n of Shaw and integratin­g the business.

The company reported net income of $328 million or 62 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with $508 million or $1 per diluted share a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Rogers earned $1.19 per diluted share in last three months of 2023, up from $1.09 per diluted share in the last three months of 2022. That beat analysts’ expectatio­ns of $1.10 in earnings per share, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

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