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TELUS (TU) Misses Q1 Earnings & Revenues, Confirms View

Leading Canadian telecom operator TELUS Corp. TU reported weak financial results in the first quarter of 2016. Both revenues and earnings lagged the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

GAAP net income was approximately $275.6 million, down 9.1% year over year. GAAP earnings per share were 47 cents, down 6.8% year over year. First quarter adjusted earnings per share were 51 cents, a penny shy of the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Total revenue came in at approximately $2,265 million, up 2.6% year over year but short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,420 million. Service revenues were $2,131.6 million, up 3.4% year over year. Equipment revenues totaled $125.4 million, down 5.5% year over year while Other revenues were $8.8 million, down 29.4% year over year.

Quarterly operating income was $466.6 million, down 5.7% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was $866.1 million, up 3.1% year over year. Quarterly adjusted EBITDA margin was 38.2% compared with 38% in the prior-year quarter.

Cash Flow & Liquidity

During the first quarter of 2016, TELUS generated approximately $410.4 million of cash from operations, down 21.6% year over year. Free cash flow, in the reported quarter, was around $78.7 million, down a whopping 60.1% year over year.

TELUS exited the first quarter of 2016 with $478 million of cash & marketable securities and $10,587 million of outstanding debt compared with $167.1 million and $9,018.9 million, respectively, at the end of 2015. At the end of the reported quarter, the debt-to-capitalization ratio was 0.58 down from 0.61 at the end of 2015.

Segmental Results

Wireless revenues increased 1.8% year over year to approximately $1,251 million in the reported quarter. Wireless network revenues rose 2.5% year over year to roughly $1,146.7 million. Equipment and Other revenues dropped 5.8% to around $94 million. Intersegment network revenues were $10.2 million, flat year over year. Within Network revenues, data revenues improved 8.3% while Voice revenues slid 4.2%. Data revenues were 56% of total network revenues compared with 53% in the year-ago quarter.

Blended ARPU inched up 1.2% year over year to around $46. The monthly blended subscriber churn rate improved to 1.26% from 1.28% in the year-ago quarter. Postpaid customer churn rate was 0.97% compared with 0.91% in the year-ago quarter.

Net wireless subscriber lost in the reported quarter was 25,000. Postpaid customer net addition was 8,000, down a substantial 78.4% year over year. Meanwhile, prepaid customer net loss was 33,000, down 13.8% year over year. As of Mar 31, 2016, TELUS had 8.387 million wireless subscribers, up 1.2% year over year. Postpaid users were 7.315 million, up 2.4% while the prepaid user count was 1.072 million, down 6.3%.

Wireline revenues increased 3.9% year over year to approximately $1,059.2 million. Data service & equipment revenues came in at $723.9 million, up 10%. Voice revenues were $253.7 million, down 8.9%. Other services and equipment revenues were $42.3 million, up 3.6% and Other operational revenues were nearly $5.1 million, down 53.3%. Intersegment revenues grossed around $34.3 million, up 9.3% year over year.

During the reported quarter, TELUS added 11,000 TV subscribers, reaching a total count of 1,016,000 customers (up 8.4% year over year). High-speed Internet subscriber addition was 12,000, reaching 1.599 million (up 6.7% year over year). Total wireline subscriber count was 4.056 million, up 2.1% year over year.

2016 Guidance

The company maintained its 2016 guidance of revenues of C$12.750–C$12.875 billion and earnings per share between C$2.40 and C$2.56. TELUS projects capital expenditure of approximately C$2.65 billion. Wireless network revenues are projected in the range of C$6.425–C$6.490 billion whereas wireline revenues are likely to be between C$5.680 billion and C$5.735 billion.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

TELUS currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Some other favorably-ranked stocks in the same sector are BCE Inc. BCE, Telefonica SA TEF and Telefonica Brasil SA VIV. All three stocks currently sport a Zacks Rank #1.

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