BCE profits rise in Q2 as it benefits from Astral acquisition

Bell Media sees 36.1% revenue bump

BCE Inc. profits grew 6.1% in the second quarter as the company benefited from new revenue sources tied to its acquisition of Astral Media.

The company said that acquisition is also behind a 36.1% increase in revenue in the Bell Media unit.

The telecom company says net earnings attributable to common shareholders was $606 million, or 78 cents per share for the three months ended June 30.

That’s up from $571 million or 74 cents per share in the same period a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings grew to 82 cents per share from 77 cents.

Operating revenues increased 4.4 per cent to $5.22 billion as company booked higher advertising and subscriber fee revenues from its Astral assets

“Continued disciplined execution of our strategic imperatives in Q2 delivered excellent wireless adjusted EBITDA growth, improved results in our wireline operations, and a strong contribution to free cash flow from Bell Media,” said Siim Vanaselja, BCE’s chief financial officer, in a release. “With an outlook of continued strong wireless profitability, an improving wireline profile, and a continued focus on growing media audiences while controlling escalating content costs, we are on track with our 2014 financial plan. We reconfirm today all our Bell and BCE guidance targets for the full year.”

BCE chief executive George Cope said the media segment continued to experience weakness in the advertising market, although he said Bell’s numbers suggest the company is “competing very well in the Canadian marketplace.”

BCE has several top TV shows and new programs scheduled for the fall season, he said, and is expanding TSN from two to five feeds to address growing consumer demand for sports content.

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