Shaw Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2017 Results
October 26, 2017
- Third consecutive quarter of subscriber growth
- Consumer net gain of 25,000 in fiscal 2017 as compared to a loss of 170,000 in fiscal 2016
- Strong growth in Internet and turnaround in cable Video subscribers
- Continued strong Wireless performance
- Subscriber +41,000 in the fourth quarter and +103,000 in fiscal 2017
- Fourth quarter Wireless revenue and operating income before restructuring costs and amortization up 16% and 11%, respectively
Calgary, Alberta (October 26, 2017) – Shaw Communications Inc. today announced its unaudited consolidated financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended August 31, 2017. Revenue from continuing operations of $1.24 billion for the quarter and $4.88 billion for the year increased by 2.6% and 8.1%, respectively, over the comparable periods in fiscal 2016. Operating income before restructuring costs and amortization of $479 million for the fourth quarter and $2.0 billion for the year decreased 6.8% and increased 1.0%, respectively, over the comparable periods in fiscal 2016.
Chief Executive Officer, Brad Shaw said, “Looking back on fiscal 2017, we set out to change the trajectory of our Consumer subscriber performance and we are delighted with the results. We invested purposefully to enable this performance and all the while I am pleased to report that our full year financial results met our guidance commitments. We are in the early stages of our journey and I am excited with the progress we made in fiscal 2017. We are executing our strategic initiatives and in the year we continued to optimize our mix of core assets with the sale of ViaWest and the acquisition of 700 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum licences in our core markets, which will enable a richer customer experience over time.”
In Wireless, the Company continued to grow postpaid and prepaid wireless subscribers, gaining a combined 103,000 revenue generating units (“RGUs”) in the year and 41,000 in the quarter. An expanded handset lineup, simplified packaging and pricing on the new LTE-Advanced network, and targeted seasonal promotional activity helped drive sequential and year-over-year subscriber growth. The LTE-Advanced network deployment is now complete.
Mr. Shaw continued, “We are very pleased with the trajectory and progress of our Wireless division. Revenues for the full year exceeded $600 million highlighted by a 16% year-over-year increase in the second half of fiscal 2017 and by consistent subscriber growth throughout the year. Today we announced another significant step forward as we deploy some of our recently acquired spectrum to give hundreds of thousands of customers access to increased LTE data speeds while making the vast majority of existing LTE devices compatible with Freedom Mobile’s LTE-Advanced network.”
In its core Wireline business, Shaw successfully shifted to growth delivering a year-over-year turnaround in overall subscriber trends, including five consecutive quarters of robust net gains in Internet subscribers. The Consumer division added a net 25,000 RGUs in the year (21,000 in the quarter) representing a substantial turnaround over the 170,000 RGU loss in fiscal 2016. Net gains in the year included the addition of 73,000 Internet RGUs, partially offset by net losses in phone of 31,000 and 17,000 in satellite Video RGUs. Cable Video RGU performance also contributed heavily to the Consumer division’s overall RGU performance. Net positive cable Video adds in fiscal 2017 represented a significant improvement over the 93,000 of losses in fiscal 2016.
“Our successful reversal of subscriber trends has been led by WideOpen Internet 150 and compelling bundle and value plan offerings across our product lines. We have taken a segmented view of the market, and achieved our fair share of cable Video subscribers, supported by the launch of BlueSky TV,” said Mr. Shaw.
WideOpen Internet 150 transformed the marketplace by offering significantly faster speeds at affordable prices, and is now available with the added benefit of unlimited data. BlueSky TV is a truly revolutionary viewing experience featuring "TV you can talk to" and most recently, Shaw introduced the integration of Netflix into BlueSky TV’s interface, a significant milestone in Shaw’s next generation Video roadmap. BlueSky TV customers who subscribe to Netflix can now watch Netflix content as easily as they watch live TV, and with BlueSky TV’s voice remote, they can access all of their favourite Netflix or live TV programming in one place.
Shaw delivered full year financial results that met its revised guidance. Fiscal 2017 operating income before restructuring costs and amortization of $1,997 million, capital investments of $1,225 million and free cash flow of $438 million were all in line with revised guidance, after adjusting for the sale of ViaWest, Inc. that closed on August 1, 2017.
Operating income before restructuring costs and amortization for the three and twelve month periods of $479 million and $1,997 million, respectively, compared to $514 million and $1,978 million in fiscal 2016. Fiscal 2017 improved 1.0% over fiscal 2016 driven primarily by the Wireless division contributing $133 million over the twelve-month period as compared to $59 million in fiscal 2016 over the six-month period following the acquisition of Freedom Mobile (formerly, WIND Mobile) on March 1, 2016. The added contribution from Wireless was offset partially by reductions in operating income before restructuring costs and amortization from the Consumer division. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, operating income before restructuring costs and amortization in the amount of $479 million was 6.8% lower than prior year. In keeping with our fiscal 2017 strategic objectives, the decline related primarily to an elevated level of promotional activity and marketing investments in our Consumer division, coupled with higher programming costs.
Free cash flow for the three and twelve month periods of $2 million and $438 million, respectively, compared to $9 million and $482 million in fiscal 2016. The annual decrease in free cash flow was largely due to higher planned capital expenditures and by the loss of free cash flow generated in the prior year by the former Media division which was sold on April 1, 2016, partially offset by lower cash taxes and higher dividends from equity accounted associates.
Net income for the three and twelve month periods of $481 million and $851 million, respectively, compared to $154 million and $1.24 billion in fiscal 2016. The increase in the quarter reflects a $330 million gain on the sale of ViaWest Inc. On a full year basis, net income was lower primarily due to higher net income from discontinued operations in fiscal 2016, including the gain on the sale of the former Media division, partially offset by higher non-operating gains in fiscal 2017.
Mr. Shaw continued, “Our focus as we embark on fiscal 2018 is to execute on and invest in our strategic agenda of building a best-in-class converged network, with particular focus in our key markets. This includes investing in enabling the recently acquired 700 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum, leveraging the strength of our wireline infrastructure and continuing our targeted investments in fibre. In addition, our capital investments will support the continued evolution of our X1 product roadmap and enhanced back office capabilities. Regarding the fiscal 2018 operating plan, our focus reflects balanced growth in both operating income before restructuring costs and amortization, and subscribers. Further, we will continue the pursuit of securing ongoing operational efficiencies within our business.”
Shaw is introducing its fiscal 2018 guidance, which includes consolidated operating income before restructuring costs and amortization growing to approximately $2.1 billion – an increase of approximately 5% over fiscal 2017; capital investments of approximately $1.38 billion; and free cash flow of approximately $375 million. We expect the majority of the growth in consolidated operating income before restructuring costs and amortization to occur in the back half of the fiscal year.
“As our customers spend more of their time in a digital environment, we are committed to meeting their demands and expectations for an always-on, seamless connectivity experience through the creation of a robust, best-in-class converged network. Our long-term growth-oriented strategy is built with our customers’ needs at the heart of every decision we make and every point of execution is designed to serve the future connectivity needs of Canadians. We have the financial resources and balance sheet strength to continue to purposefully invest with the view to delighting our customers and delivering value for all our stakeholders,” Mr. Shaw said.
Mr. Shaw concluded, “We are focused on consistent and successful execution of our strategic plan. I would like to personally thank our 14,000 dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to deliver an exceptional customer experience on our leading integrated network. Shaw’s business performance, coupled with the recent optimizing of our core asset mix, showcase an unwavering commitment to our growth strategy.”
Shaw Communications Inc. is an enhanced connectivity provider. Our Consumer division serves consumers with broadband Internet, Shaw Go WiFi, Video and digital phone. Our Wireless division provides wireless voice and data services through an expanding and improving mobile wireless network infrastructure. The Business Network Services division provides business customers with Internet, data, WiFi, telephony, and Video services.
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, SJR.PR.A, SJR.PR.B, NYSE – SJR, and TSXV – SJR.A). For more information, please visit www.shaw.ca