BCE Inc. ( BCE Quick Quote BCE - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2022 adjusted earnings per share of C$0.71 (53 cents) compared with C$0.76 in the prior-year quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same was pegged at 53 cents.
Quarterly total operating revenues moved up 3.7% year over year to C$6,439 million ($4,743 million). The consensus estimate was pegged at $4,676 million. This was driven by a 2.1% rise in service revenues, which totaled C$5,353 million, and Product revenues improved 12.4% to C$1086 million.
The uptick was due to solid wireless and residential Internet growth along with higher business wireline data equipment sales.
Segmental Results Bell Wireless’ operating revenues increased 7.7% year over year to C$2,666 million, driven by strong service and product revenue growth.
Service revenues jumped 5.8% to C$1,747 million, driven by growth in mobile phone and connected device subscriber bases; and higher blended mobile phone average revenue per user.
Product revenues were up 11.7% to C$919 million, driven by a greater transaction volume and increased mobile phone upgrades by existing customers.
Bell Wireless added 122,621 post-paid and prepaid mobile phone subscribers compared with 109,726 in the third quarter of 2021. The number of post-paid mobile phone net subscriber activations rose as a result of higher in-store foot traffic than the previous year, sustained momentum of 5G, immigration growth, stronger business client demand and a greater emphasis on bundling wireless service with the Internet.
Prepaid mobile phone and net subscriber activations decreased owing to higher customer churn due to promotional offers on post-paid plans.
Bell Wireline revenues increased 0.5% to C$3,094. Wireline service revenues decreased 0.3% to C$2,924 million, owing to the continued decline in legacy voice, data and satellite TV services along with higher customer acquisition and retention discounts. Also, sales of IP connectivity and business service solutions declined due to large enterprise customers deferring project spending due to supply-related disruptions and the sale of Createch on Mar 1, 2022.
Product revenues increased 17.2% to C$170 million due to higher sales of data equipment to enterprise business customers resulting from timings of deals and easier comparison, owing to data equipment shortages in the prior-year quarter.
Bell Media generated revenues of C$889 million, rising 4.7% year over year. The revenues increased due to higher subscribers and advertisers. Advertising revenue benefited from strong advertising demand during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Other Details
Adjusted EBITDA in the reported quarter was C$2,437 million, up 0.3% year over year. The rise was driven by an increase of 4.1% in the wireless segment, partly offset by a decrease of 0.6% in wireline segments and 15.7% in media. The adjusted EBITDA margin was 37.8% compared with 39.1% in the prior-year quarter.
BCE generated C$2,056 million of cash from operating activities compared with C$1,743 million in the prior-year quarter. The free cash flow was C$376 million compared with C$229 million a year ago due to higher cash flows from operating activities.
BCE issued the financial guidance for 2023. It expects revenue growth between 1% and 5% and adjusted EBITDA between 2% and 5%. Adjusted earnings per share are estimated to decrease 3-7% owing to lower tax adjustments and higher expected depreciation and amortization expense.
Free cash flow growth is projected to be 2-10%. The annualized common dividend per share is estimated to be C$3.87.
The company has declared a quarterly dividend of C$0.9675 cents per share, payable on Apr 17, 2023, to shareholders of record on Mar 15, 2023.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
BCE currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology space are
Arista Networks ( ANET Quick Quote ANET - Free Report) , Jabil ( JBL Quick Quote JBL - Free Report) and Bandwidth ( BAND Quick Quote BAND - Free Report) . Jabil sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Arista Networks and Bandwidth carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
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The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Bandwidth 2022 earnings is pegged at 37 cents per share, unchanged in the past 60 days. The long-term earnings growth rate is anticipated to be 25%.
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