Shaw announces fourth quarter and full year results and preliminary fiscal 2010 guidance
October 23, 2009
Calgary, Alberta (October 23, 2009) — Shaw Communications Inc. announced results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended August 31, 2009. Consolidated service revenue for the three and twelve month periods of $873 million and $3.39 billion, respectively, was up 8% and 9% over the same periods last year. Service operating income before amortization1 of $395 million and $1.54 billion, respectively, improved 7% and 9% over the comparable periods. Funds flow from operations2 was $321 million and $1.32 billion for the quarter and year respectively, compared to $321 million and $1.22 billion in the same periods last year.
During the quarter Basic cable subscribers increased 6,374 to 2,289,900, Digital customers were up 110,501 to 1,297,684, and Internet and Digital Phone lines grew by 27,376 to 1,678,335 and 55,708 to 829,717, respectively. DTH customers increased 2,728 to 900,941.
Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair Jim Shaw commented, "Throughout 2009 subscriber growth was solid. Our focus on Digital deployment, combined with the consumers increased demand for HDTV, drove record Digital growth during the year. We added over 388,000 new subscribers increasing our Digital penetration of Basic from 40% at August 31, 2008 to almost 57% at August 31, 2009."
Free cash flow1 for the quarter and year was $99 million and $504 million, respectively, compared to $143 million and $453 million for the same periods last year. The quarterly decline was due to increased capital investment and the impact of cash taxes offsetting higher service operating income before amortization. The annual improvement in free cash flow was achieved through higher service operating income before amortization after taking into account almost $50 million of increased capital investment and the impact of the Company becoming cash taxable during the current quarter.
Jim Shaw stated, "Our financial and operational results for the quarter and annual period demonstrate our ability to manage effectively in a challenging economic and highly competitive environment. Our prudent management approach enabled us to invest in the business and execute on our strategic initiatives providing customers with high quality innovative products, value pricing, and exceptional customer service. The foundation of our service delivery system includes our dedicated employee base and our technologically advanced broadband network. Our commitment to customer service is a strong competitive advantage, and in support of this our employee base grew rapidly from 6,500 in 2005 to over 10,000 today. During 2009 we invested over $775 million in our capital infrastructure in order to continue to meet customers' demands. The investment was directed to the enhancement of our broadband network including capacity upgrades to accommodate the continued growth of HD services, subscriber growth with a focus on increasing our Digital base, expansion of our Digital Phone footprint, continued node segmentation, Internet speed increases of 50% and the launch of a 100 Mbps service with DOCSIS 3.0 deployment, back office and customer support systems, and facilities expansion. Our business is capital intensive: we must continue to reinvest a large portion of our operating profits to remain in step with technology advancements and provide consumers the choice and innovation they demand. From 2005 through 2009 we invested over $3.0 billion in capital.
For 2009 specifically we achieved solid growth across our key financial metrics: 9% improvement in both consolidated service revenue and service operating income before amortization, and an increase of over $50 million, or 11%, in free cash flow. Our continued financial success is directly related to our ability to deliver real value by anticipating and responding to the needs of our customers, offering variety and competitive rates. We do this while also making significant contributions to the enhancement of the Canadian broadcasting system. Our financial results include substantial investments, over $100 million in 2009, in support of Canadian television including Canadian content and local programming."
Mr. Shaw continued, "We have added employees and invested to ensure our service delivery system is strong and our business has a sound future. While doing this we have maintained our profitability in a consistent manner. Also, while many other companies loaded up on debt overlooking that economic cycles occur, we have consistently lowered our debt each year and strengthened our business financially."
Net income of $124 million or $0.29 per share for the quarter ended August 31, 2009 compared to $132 million or $0.31 per share for the same quarter last year. Net income for the annual period was $535 million or $1.25 per share compared to $672 million or $1.56 per share last year. All periods included non-operating items which are more fully detailed in Management's Discussions and Analysis (MD&A). 3 The current and comparable annual periods each benefitted from tax recoveries primarily related to reductions in enacted income tax rates of $23 million and $199 million, respectively. The prior year also benefitted from 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 current three and twelve month periods ended August 31, 2009 would have been $123 million and $504 million compared to $133 million and $460 million in the same periods last year.
Service revenue in the Cable division was up 10% and 11% for the three and twelve month periods, respectively, to $682 million and $2.63 billion. The improvement was primarily driven by customer growth and rate increases. Service operating income before amortization improved 9% and 10%, respectively, for the three and twelve month periods to $328 million and $1.27 billion.
Service revenue in the Satellite division was $190 million and $760 million for the three and twelve month periods respectively, up 3% and 4% over the comparable periods last year. The improvement was primarily due to rate increases and customer growth. Service operating income before amortization for the quarter and annual period was $67 million and $269 million, respectively, compared to $67 million and $255 million for the same periods last year.
Mr. Shaw continued, "Looking forward we anticipate steady growth in fiscal 2010. Including the impact of a one-time CRTC Part II fee recovery, our preliminary view calls for consolidated service operating income before amortization to increase by 14% or more. We plan to continue our rate of capital investment driving business growth and improvements, including implementation of new technologies to provide our customers with unprecedented choice and leading edge products. Considering the full year impact of cash taxes, we expect free cash flow to be comparable to fiscal 2009. We caution that this preliminary guidance may change in light of competitive market dynamics and other risk factors."
On October 1, 2009 the Company closed a $1.25 billion offering of 5.65% senior notes due October 1, 2019. The net proceeds are being used to repay near term maturing debt, potential acquisitions, working capital and general corporate purposes. Shaw subsequently redeemed its US$440 million Senior Notes and US$225 million Senior Notes on October 13, 2009 and its US$300 million Senior Notes on October 20, 2009.
The Company has received CRTC approval and will close the acquisition of Mountain Cablevision shortly. Mountain Cablevision, based in Hamilton, Ontario, was one of the larger remaining independent cable companies in Canada and represents a complementary growth opportunity for Shaw adding approximately 41,000 cable customers, 29,000 Internet subscribers, and 30,000 Digital Phone lines.
Mr. Shaw concluded "As we focus on the year ahead we plan to continue to invest in our high quality network and drive innovation in our products and services. These initiatives, combined with our focus on the delivery of a superior customer experience, strengthen our competitive position and build long-term value for our shareholders."
The accompanying Management's Discussion and Analysis forms part of this news release and the "Caution Concerning Forward Looking Statements" applies to all forward-looking statements made in this news release.
1 See definitions and discussion under Key Performance Drivers in MD&A.
2 Funds flow from operations is before changes in non-cash working capital balances related to operations as presented in the unaudited interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
3 See reconciliation of Net Income in Consolidated Overview in MD&A
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 Shaw Direct). The Company serves 3.4 million customers, including 1.6 million Internet and 775,000 Digital Phone customers, through a reliable and extensive network, which comprises 625,000 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).
For further information, please contact:
Shaw Communications Inc.
VP, External Affairs