New subscribers, live sports and advertising buoy Rogers results as restrictions ease

Rogers revenue rebounds

Rogers Communications Inc. reported a rebound in revenues in its second quarter amid an uptick in wireless and internet subscribers and the recovery of television advertising tied to the return of live professional sports.

The cable and wireless company said Wednesday its media revenue surged 84 per cent in the quarter, driven by advertising connected to live sports broadcasting like the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as Blue Jays revenues.

As many Canadians continued to work and study remotely, Rogers also recorded a two per cent increase in wireless service revenue with 99,000 net new postpaid subscribers and a five per cent jump in cable revenue with 15,000 net new broadband subscribers and 66,000 net Ignite TV subscribers in the quarter.

The Toronto-based telecom company said it cleared a profit of $302 million for the three months ended June 30, as revenue rose 14 per cent to $3.58 billion up from $3.16 billion a year earlier.

Rogers president and CEO Joe Natale said the strong financial results reflect the gradual economic recovery from pandemic lockdowns.

"This time last year, our second quarter results reflected the significant societal and economic impacts of the first nationwide lockdown," he said during a conference call with analysts.

"Twelve months later, we have come a long way. While some elements of the pandemic will be with us for some time, we're optimistic about the road ahead."

That includes potential new business tied to the return to urban centres, the reopening of offices and return to in-person college and university classes this fall, he said.

"There's pent-up consumer demand and as people become mobile again and students return to school, it will drive growth," Anthony Staffieri, Rogers chief financial officer, said.

The telecom operator is in the process of acquiring Shaw Communications Inc., a deal Rogers said will allow it to invest in network facilities, especially in remote and underserved parts of Canada, and grow more quickly and efficiently.

The $26-billion purchase, including debt, will also help expand 5G across country, Rogers said.

The company said it earned 60 cents per diluted share in the quarter, up from 54 cents per share a year earlier.

Adjusted profits were $387 million or 76 cents per share, compared with $310 million or 60 cents per share in the second quarter of 2020.

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