TELUS Corporation (TU - Free Report) reported healthy results for the first quarter of 2018, wherein both the top line and the bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
The reported quarter’s financials reflect the adoption of IFRS 15 (revenues from contracts with customers) and IFRS 9 (Financial Instruments) on Jan 1, 2018. Results for prior-year quarter have been adjusted to reflect the retrospective application of IFRS 15 and IFRS 9.
According to IFRS, net income for the quarter came in at CAD 410 million ($324.3 million), down 1% year over year. Adjusted earnings per share improved 2.8% year over year to CAD 0.73 (60 cents), primarily driven by solid growth in revenues in both operating segments. The bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 59 cents.
Quarterly consolidated revenues increased 6% year over year to CAD 3,377 million ($2,672 million), beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,624 million. The year-over-year increase reflected strong customer growth including 76,000 new postpaid wireless, Internet and TV customer additions.
Operating income (before depreciation and amortization) was CAD 1,269 million ($1,003.7 million), up 2.7% year over year.
Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was CAD 1,303 million ($1,030.6 million), up 5.2% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 38.6% compared with 38.9% in the year-ago quarter.
Wireless operating revenues increased 6.6% year over year to CAD 1,901 million ($1,503.5 million).
Wireless network revenues increased 4% to CAD 1,472 million ($1,164.2 million), largely driven by growth in the postpaid subscriber base including subscribers from MTS. Equipment and other service revenues were CAD 411 million ($325.1 million), up 15.8% year over year, mainly due to higher retention volumes, postpaid gross additions and increase in higher-valued smartphones in the sales mix.
Adjusted EBITDA of CAD 846 million ($669.1 million) increased 6% from the prior-year quarter figure, reflecting higher network revenues and improvement in equipment margins. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 44.5% compared with 44.7% in the year-ago quarter.
Wireless capital expenditures declined 26.9% year over year to CAD 182 million ($143.9 million), as the company incurred costs in the first quarter of 2017 for the hardware upgrade of wireless billing system.
Wireline operating revenues increased 5.1% year over year to CAD 1,539 million ($1,217.2 million).
Data services revenues were CAD 1,089 million ($861.3 million), up 9.8%. This was due to growth in CCBS outsourcing revenues primarily backed by growth in business volumes from recent acquisitions, increased Internet and enhanced data revenues from continued high-speed Internet subscriber growth and higher revenues per customer. Increased TELUS TV revenues resulting from continued subscriber growth, rise in in equipment revenues in the business market and revenues from the recently acquired home security line of business also contributed to the upside.
Voice service (local and long distance) revenues were CAD 281 million ($222.2 million), down 11.1%. Other service and equipment revenues were CAD 98 million ($77.5 million), up 6.5%.
Adjusted EBITDA of CAD 457 million ($361.4 million) increased 3.7% from the prior-year quarter figure. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 29.7% compared with 30.1% in the year-ago quarter.
Wireline capital expenditures declined 1.5% year over year to CAD 468 million ($370.1 million). During the quarter, the company continued to connect more homes and businesses directly to its fiberoptic network.
Cash Flow & Liquidity
For the first quarter, free cash flow increased 104.1% year over year to CAD 443 million ($350.4 million), due to lower cash taxes, decline in capital expenditures and higher EBITDA.
As of Mar 31, the company’s long-term debt was CAD 13,785 million ($10,682.7 million).
TELUS updated its consolidated financial targets for 2018 to reflect the adoption of IFRS 15. The company projects an increase in revenues to the tune of 4-6% on CAD 13.4 billion. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase 3-6% on CAD 5 billion. IFRS earnings per share are expected to increase up to 6% on CAD 2.63. Capital expenditures for 2018 are expected to be approximately CAD 2.85 billion.
TELUS currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Better-ranked stocks in the broader industry include Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (AQN - Free Report) , CMS Energy Corporation (CMS - Free Report) and Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Algonquin Power & Utilities has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8%. It has exceeded earnings estimates thrice in the trailing four quarters, with an average of 16.5%.
CMS Energy has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 6.3%.
Alliant Energy has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 5.6%.
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