Shaw Communications Inc. (SJR)

F3Q10 (Qtr End 05/31/10) Earnings Call Transcript

June 30, 2010 4:00 pm ET

Executives

Jim Shaw – CEO & Vice Chair

Steve Wilson – SVP & CFO

Brad Shaw – EVP

Peter Bissonnette – President

Michael D`Avella – SVP, Planning

Analysts

Steve Harris [ph] – BofA/Merrill Lynch

Tim Casey – BMO Capital Markets

Vince Valentini – TD Newcrest

Greg MacDonald – National Bank Financial

Phillip Huang – UBS Equities

Jeff Fan – Scotia Capital Markets

Dvai Ghose – Canaccord Genuity

Maher Yaghi – Desjardins

Peter MacDonald – GMP Securities

Presentation

Operator

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Shaw Communications fiscal 2010 third quarter conference call. Today’s call will be hosted by Mr. Jim Shaw, Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Shaw Communications. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator instructions) If the press has any question, please Mr. Shaw’s office after the call.

Before we begin, management would like to remind listeners that comments made during today’s call will include forward-looking information and there are risks that actual results could differ materially. Please refer to the Company’s publicly filed documents for more details on assumptions and risks. Mr. Shaw, it is now pleasure to turn the call over to you. Please go ahead, sir.

Jim Shaw

Thank you, operator. And welcome to our third quarter results and thank you for joining us today. With me today we have our whole top team, which would be Mr. Peter Bissonnette, President; Mr. Brad Shaw, Executive Vice President; Mr. Steve Wilson, Chief Financial Officer; Mr. Michael D`Avella, Senior Vice President of Planning; Mr. Ken Stein, Senior Vice President of Regulatory; and Mr. Jean Brazeau, Senior Vice President of Regulatory also, and it’s kind of a duplicate [ph] there; and Mr. Jay Mehr, Group Vice President of Shaw Cable Operations; and Mr. Jim Cummins, Group Vice President of Satellite Operations; Mr. Paul Robertson, Group Vice President of Broadcast Services, I guess we call it; and also Mr. Trevor English who works in our whole investment area. So we are happy to welcome you here today. I will keep my comments short as you have already reviewed our results, which were released this morning.

We continue to post impressive financial and operating metrics that (inaudible) towards the strength of our core Cable and Satellite business. Both revenue and EBITDA for the quarter was up 10% and our subscriber growth was strong across all products. We added basic customers in Q3 and our digital penetration rate is now approaching 70%. This quarter, we added over 66,000 digital phones lines and this represents our highest ever net addition in a quarter since launching this service in 2005. These results were achieved with a focus on profitability as our consolidated margin for the quarter exceeded 46% and our cable margin was almost 49%.

Lastly Wednesday was a milestone regarding our proposed acquisition of the Canwest Broadcast assets. The court approved matters relating to the acquisition and we are working on completing the remaining steps in the transaction, including securing the regulatory required approvals. We expect this acquisition to close in the fall of this year. We continue to develop our Wireless business plan and we are pleased to announce that we have chosen Nokia-Siemens as our equipment vendor four our network build.

We also have recently hired Lawrence Cook [ph] as our new VP of Wireless. Lawrence joins us with extensive knowledge and experience in the wireless industry, both in Canada and abroad. We will provide further updates on our Wireless initiatives as we approach our launch of this service.

We are excited about the future of our Company. Our core business continues to be resilient in the face of heightened [ph] competition and continues to generate significant amount of free cash flow. We are ready with our expansion in the Wireless and our acquisition of one of the premier providers of content will position us to be one of the leading entertainment and communication companies in Canada.

So, with that, thanks for joining us here today. We now like to open up the phones to answer any question before everyone leaves for probably a long-deserved long weekend with your family.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator instructions) Your first question comes from Glen Campbell. Please go ahead, sir.

Steve Harris BofA/Merrill Lynch

Hi guys, this is Steve Harris [ph] on behalf of Glen Campbell who is traveling. First I will say congrats for the good quarter. Just a couple of quick questions. We were wondering if you could provide us with a quick updated view on the expected Wireless CapEx now that the NSN deal is signed. How much do you expect to spend in order to launch the major markets? And if you can talk about recent changes to your cable and triple-play promotions.

Unidentified Company Speaker

Steve, I can talk to – regarding the CapEx for Wireless we’ve committed to $100 million spend and we are still on track even though we are a little lighter this quarter, but certainly by end of the quarter network and some other things in place. That’s the number we are driving to. And then on promotions, we knew that would come up somehow in this call. There has been a lot of activity and a lot of noise from some of the other providers on our most aggressive price points in the world. And all I can say to that is that offer we do is the offer ‘9.95’ offer to double-play customers. We are currently getting over $100 ARPU from them. And so we really feel it’s a nice way to introduce the triple-play in a nice introductory six-month offer. And as always with promotions they come up and they go down and we move things around with what’s successful. And so you will continue to see that.

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