Shaw Communications Inc. (SJR)

F4Q10 (Qtr End 08/31/10) Earnings Conference Call

October 22, 2010 1:00 PM EST


Jim Shaw – Vice Chair and CEO

Brad Shaw – EVP

Steve Wilson – CFO

Jay Mehr – Group VP of Cable Operations

Mike D`Avella – SVP of Planning

Peter Bissonnette – President


Peter MacDonald – GMP Securities

Bob Beck – CIBC

Tim Casey – BMO

Jeff Fan – Scotia Capital

Vince Valentini – TD Newcrest

Glen Campbell – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Jonathan Allen – RBC Capital Markets

Greg MacDonald – National Bank Financial

Rob Goff – NCP

Phillip Huang – UBS

Maher Yaghi – Desjardin Securities

Dvai Ghose – Canaccord Genuity

David Gober – Morgan Stanley



Welcome to Shaw Communications’ Fiscal 2010 Fourth Quarter Conference Call. Today’s call will be hosted by Mr. Jim Shaw, Vice Chair and CEO 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 contact 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, I will now turn the call over to you.

Jim Shaw

Thank you, operator, and thanks for everyone joining us today. I apologize that we’re having this on a Friday, so we usually like to try to have it on a Thursday, so I’ll say that right up ahead.

With me today are members of our top notch management team, including Peter Bissonnette, President; Brad Shaw, Executive Vice President, soon to be CEO; Steve Wilson, Chief Financial Officer; Mike D`Avella, Senior Vice President of Planning; Jean Brazeau, Senior Vice President of Regulatory; Jay Mehr, Group Vice President of Cable Operations; Paul Robertson, Group Vice President, Shaw Media; and Jim Cummins, Group Vice President of Shaw Satellite Operations.

I will keep my comments short as you have already reviewed our results, which were released earlier this morning.

2010 was an exciting year for our company. We declared our intentions regarding wireless and to date have spent a $100 million related to design and construction of our core network. Upon CRTC approval, which is expected later today, we will be acquiring the broadcasting assets of Canwest, including global networks and a portfolio of some 21 specialty channels such as HGTV and The Food Network. We expect to close this transaction by the end of the month.

Looking forward to fiscal 2011, we expect continued growth in our core business overall for satellites, cables, and we expect robust free cash flow growth to approximately $550 million. These figures do not include the new media assets which will immediately be accretive to free cash flow. We also continue to invest in our wireless network in advance of our scheduled launch and we’ve planned to spend an additional $200 million in 2011 on this strategic initiative.

Before taking questions, I wanted to address the recent leadership changes that were announced this morning. I have had the pleasure of working in Shaw for the last 28 years and leading the organization as CEO for the last 12 years. It has been an unbelievable experience. I am proud of our successes of the management team we have assembled, JR and myself, and confirmed by the Board felt that it was time for a new leader to the take the reigns, and we all felt that Brad was the right person for the job.

Brad has been with the company for over 20 years. And for the last several years has played an increasingly important role in the leadership and strategic direction of our company. I am confident he will continue to move the business forward. I wish him all the success as the new CEO effective at the Annual Meeting coming up.

I mean, I hear there’s lots of rumors out there, we’re doing this because Jim is sick and that. We’re not doing that. We’re actually doing it because we’re going to expand the management teams. So as I remain on as Vice Chair, JR as Chair still, Brad coming in as CEO, Peter there to support, and the strong team we have around the table here with all the people I have mentioned here before that there is no problem. But Shaw plans for success and it works at it. I think that as a company, we tend to deliver it.

So, after that, Brad.

Brad Shaw

Thanks Jim. We are excited about the future of our company in this dynamic environment. Our core business continues to be resilient in the phase of heightened competition and continues to generate significant amounts of free cash flow. We believe our ownership of content and our entry into the wireless market will grow and strengthen our portfolio of assets.

We also position us to deal with and respond to the competitive realities of our marketplace and the evolving consumer and technology trends that are impacting our industry. And just before we turn over to questions, from this team around here and Jim mentioned about the strength of our team and how we manage as a collaborative approach and as a team approach and the team is expanding, Jim will be here, JR will be here. We have a solid foundation for this company to grow and we are committed to continuing on and building in that process and what we built up on to date.

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