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Shaw Communications' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Another fiscal year is underway, and we are extremely proud of the fact that 2012 marks a significant milestone in Shaw's history. As we are celebrating 40 years of growth and success in Canada, we have a superb leadership team in our tradition of employee commitment engagement that resonates throughout our organization. The Shaw team of over 13,000 employees drives and delivers results for all of our stakeholders. Our goal this year is to continue our history and our track record of delivering exceptional products and service through our 3.1 million customers across the country and to create value for our shareholders.

Fiscal 2012 is off to a good start, as first quarter financial results were solid and we've generated almost $120 million in free cash flow. Recently, there's been some concern regarding our approach to the competitive environment. Promotional activity has been a reality in our business for a number of years and has been embedded in our financial results. In the past, a lot of our promotional activity has been tactical and not necessarily in the public or media spotlight. Beginning in the latter part of 2011, we embarked on a strategy that entailed more mass marketing of some of our offers. This does not represent a doubling down of the promotional activity, as we have simply shifted some of our tactics towards our promotional efforts. We remain focused on balancing subscriber results and profitability and continuing to maintain our industry-leading margin performance.

Over the years, we have made a number of strategic decisions that have positioned our company with a strong portfolio of assets. We are well-situated, both from a strategic and financial perspective, to compete and grow our business. Our assets continue to yield solid financial results and generate substantial amounts of free cash flow, and today, we confirmed our fiscal 2012 guidance. We expect continued growth in revenue and EBITDA across all of our divisions. And due to some strategic investments during the year, it is expected that capital will increase compared to 2011 levels. Considering this and other factors, including higher CRTC benefit obligations, free cash flow for the year is estimated to be approximately $550 million.

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