Shaw announces first quarter results with solid start in 2008
January 11, 2008
Calgary, Alberta (January 11, 2008) — Shaw Communications Inc. today announced results for the first quarter ended November 30, 2007. Consolidated service revenue and service operating income before amortization 1 of $744 million and $333 million, respectively, each improved 11% over the comparable period last year. Funds flow from operations 2 increased to $286 million compared to $244 million in the same quarter last year.
During the quarter, Basic cable subscribers increased by 8,138 to 2,234,979, Digital and Internet customers grew by 39,496 to 802,636 and 34,719 to 1,486,475, respectively, and Digital Phone lines were up 50,339 to 435,696. DTH increased 1,544 customers to 881,129. Free cash flow1 for the quarter was $90 million compared to $76 million for the same period last year, an improvement of $14 million. The growth in free cash flow was achieved through higher service operating income before amortization and after increased capital investment of $22 million.
"We are off to a solid start in 2008" commented Jim Shaw, Chief Executive Officer. "Our first quarter results put us firmly on track to deliver on our annual operational and financial objectives. Quarterly subscriber growth was one of the strongest we have had for Digital Phone and Digital, with other product lines showing continued steady growth."
Net income of $112 million or $0.26 per share for the quarter ended November 30, 2007 compared to $81 million or $0.19 per share for the same quarter last year. The periods included non-operating items which are more fully detailed in Management's Discussions and Analysis (MD&A). The current period included a net duty recovery of approximately $22 million before income taxes related to the importation of satellite receivers. Excluding the non-operating items, net income for the three month period ended November 30, 2007 would have been $96 million compared to $81 million last year.
Service revenue in the Cable division was up 13% for the three month period to $565 million compared to $499 million in the same period last year. The improvement was primarily driven by customer growth and rate increases. Service operating income before amortization increased almost 15% to $273 million for the quarter.
Satellite division service revenue of $178 million, increased 4% over the same period last year. The improvement was primarily due to rate increases and customer growth. Service operating income before amortization for the quarter was $60 million compared to $62 million last year.
"We continue to gain efficiencies with our Digital Phone product which is a significant contributor to our growth in revenue and service operating income before amortization" said Mr. Shaw. "We are now able to offer the triple play of voice, video and data to approximately 85% of our homes passed. On-going value enhancements to our products and our focus on the customer allow us to continue to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and generate positive results."
Mr. Shaw continued, "We are currently reviewing the advanced wireless spectrum auction rules and have no comment with respect to our intentions at this time."
In November 2007 Shaw received approval from the TSX to renew its normal course issuer bid to purchase its Class B Non-Voting Shares for a further one year period. The Company's normal course issuer bid will expire on November 18, 2008 and Shaw is authorized to repurchase up to 35,600,000 Class B Non-Voting Shares.
In December 2007 the Company announced its intention to redeem of all of its outstanding $100 million 8.54% Series B Canadian Originated Preferred Securities. The redemption date will be January 30, 2008.
The Company felt it was an opportune time to introduce a DRIP, considering that it leads the North American cable industry in dividend yield and currently ranks in the top 30 high-yielding corporations included in the S&P/TSX 300 Index. The DRIP allows holders of Class B Shares and Class A Shares who are residents of Canada to acquire Class B Shares through the automatic reinvestment of cash dividends paid on their respective shareholdings. As Shaw pays dividends on a monthly basis to provide shareholders with enhanced liquidity, the new DRIP further supports our shareholders by offering a convenient alternative to receiving a dividend payment and an attractive way to increase their investment in the Company. The DRIP will be effective for the January 30, 2008 dividend payment. Further details will be released shortly.
In closing, Mr. Shaw summarized: "We continue to execute on our strategy in 2008 and believe we are positioned for another solid year of operational and financial performance." Shaw Communications Inc. is a diversified communications company whose core business is providing broadband cable television, High-Speed Internet, Digital Phone, telecommunications services (through Shaw Business Solutions) and satellite direct-to-home services (through Star Choice). The Company serves 3.3 million customers, including almost 1.5 million Internet subscribers, through a reliable and extensive network, which comprises over 575,000 kilometres of fibre. Shaw is traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges and is included in the S&P/TSX 60 Index (Symbol: TSX - SJR.B, NYSE - SJR).
Shaw Communications Inc. is a diversified communications and media company, providing consumers broadband cable television, High-Speed Internet, Home Phone, telecommunications services (through Shaw Business), satellite direct-to-home services (through Shaw Direct) and engaging programming content (through Shaw Media). Shaw serves 3.4 million customers, through a reliable and extensive fibre network. Shaw Media operates one of the largest conventional television networks in Canada, Global Television, and 18 specialty networks including HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, HISTORY, and Showcase. Shaw is traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges and is included in the S&P/TSX 60 Index (Symbol: TSX - SJR.B, NYSE - SJR). For more information about Shaw, please visit our Corporate Information page.
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Shaw Communications Inc.
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