Canada’s Rogers gets profit boost from record wireless subscriber growth

(Reuters) -Canada’s Rogers beat quarterly profit estimates and posted its strongest wireless subscriber growth on record as telecom demand benefited from a surge in students and immigrants entering the country.

Rogers shares rose nearly 5% on Thursday after the company added 225,000 monthly bill-paying wireless subscribers in the September quarter, handily beating Visible Alpha estimates for net adds of 186,210.

Canada has laid out goals of welcoming more than 400,000 people each year, a move that analysts have said will benefit the country’s big three carriers – Rogers, BCE and Telus.

The telecom companies have also tried to boost growth by offering more bundled plans and higher promotions in a market where wireless charges are among the highest in the world.

Rogers said its wireless revenue rose 14% in the quarter, boosting its total revenue to C$5.09 billion ($3.69 billion), in line with estimates, according to LSEG data.

“Six months into our Shaw integration, we’re tracking ahead of our synergy targets and deleveraging plans,” CEO Tony Staffieri said.

The company completed the purchase of Shaw Communications earlier this year after securing regulatory approval with commitments to pay financial penalties if it failed to create new jobs and invest to expand its network.

Media revenue at the Toronto Blue Jays owner rose 11% to C$586 million, thanks to its sports-related events.

Rogers’ free cash flow, a metric closely watched by investors to help determine dividend payouts, came in at C$745 million, above the C$636.5 million estimated by seven analysts polled by Visible Alpha.

On an adjusted basis, Rogers earned a profit of C$1.27 per share, beating estimates of C$1.10, according to LSEG.

($1 = 1.3788 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Samrhitha Arunasalam in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)