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Rogers revs up 14% for quarter

Launch of TV station OMNI.2 boosts earnings

TORONTO — Capital expenditures are down and revenue is up for Toronto-based Rogers Communications, helping Canada’s largest cabler post modest earnings of C$23.7 million ($16.3 million) for the quarter.

Revenue for the first quarter ended March 31 was $774 million, up 14%, while the company posted net income of $16.3 million, a significant turnaround from the loss of $67.2 million in their first quarter a year ago.

The company’s three operating divisions are continuing to post double-digit year-over-year growth, with cable revenue up 12.5% to $294.8 million, wireless up 16.3% to $351.2 million and media up 11.3% to $135.5 million.

Despite being traditionally the softest quarter of the year, revenue at media improved primarily due to the newly launched Toronto-area multicultural television station, OMNI.2, the acquisition of 13 radio stations last year and growth at two of its specialty channels.

“All three of these businesses are well-positioned strategically in their respective markets,” said Ted Rogers, the company’s prexy and CEO, adding that they have, “excellent operating management and are well-financed for continued success into the future.”

A concerted effort has brought capital expenditures, which have been a significant drain on company resources, down by 21.9% to $130 million.

The interest on debt, which stands at $4 billion, has climbed by $10.3 million, however, due to a larger higher-interest fixed-rate debt.

The number of basic cable subscribers is holding steady, a marked improvement as during the same quarter last year the company lost 18,500 subscribers. Broadband Internet subs grew by 50,300 and the number of digital cable was up 33,100.

During the quarter Rogers’ investment in the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club cost $9.3 million. The company upped its stake in Cogeco, Canada’s fourth-largest cabler, from 11% to 18%.

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