Rogers Communications Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Rogers Communications (RCI)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 24, 2012 8:30 am ET


Bruce M. Mann - Vice President of Investor Relations

Nadir H. Mohamed - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Anthony Staffieri - Chief Financial Officer

Robert W. Bruce - President of Communications Division

Keith Pelley - President of Rogers Media Division


Maher Yaghi - Desjardins Securities Inc., Research Division

Matthew Niknam - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Jeffrey Fan - Scotiabank Global Banking and Market, Research Division

Vince Valentini - TD Securities Equity Research

Glen Campbell - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Drew McReynolds - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Blair Abernethy - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Robert Bek - CIBC World Markets Inc., Research Division

Simon Flannery - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Adam Shine - National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division

Richard H. Prentiss - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Robert Goff - Byron Capital Markets Ltd., Research Division

Gregory W. MacDonald - Macquarie Research



[Operator Instructions] I would like to remind everyone that today's conference is being recorded. I will now turn the conference over to Bruce Mann of the Rogers management team. Please go ahead, sir.

Bruce M. Mann

Well, thanks very much, operator. And good morning, everybody. Thanks for investing some of your time with us, from the Rogers management team, this morning for our second quarter 2012 investment community teleconference. Joining me on the line here in Toronto are our President and Chief Executive Officer, Nadir Mohamed; Tony Staffieri, our Chief Financial Officer; Rob Bruce, the President of our Communications Division; Keith Pelley, the President of our Media Division; and then also, Bob Berner, our Chief Technology Officer; and Kenneth Engelhart from our Regulatory team.

We released our second quarter 2012 results earlier this morning. The purpose of this call is to crisply provide you with a bit of additional background upfront, and then we'll answer as many of your questions as time permits.

As today's remarks and discussion will undoubtedly touch on estimates and other forward-looking information from which our actual results could be different, you should please review the cautionary language in our earnings release of this morning and our 2011 annual report. There's factors, assumptions, risks there that -- as to why our results could differ ultimately, and all of those cautions apply equally to our dialogue on today's call.

If you don't already have copies of our release of this morning and/or our 2011 annual report to accompany the call, they're both available on the Investor Relations section of They're also on the EDGAR and SEDAR websites.

So with that, I'm going to turn it over to Nadir Mohamed and then Tony Staffieri, both for some brief introductory remarks, and then the management team here will take your questions. So over to you, Nadir.

Nadir H. Mohamed

Thanks, Bruce. Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us. As you can see from this morning's earnings release, we delivered a relatively balanced set of financial and subscriber results, which includes several positive inflections from the first quarter of this year. The results overall clearly reflected the strength of our asset mix, which positions us uniquely as Canada's largest wireless provider, complemented by a healthy and growing Broadband and Media businesses.

While the competitive challenges and the ad market softness have not abated during the second quarter, we had strong execution which resulted in growth in both revenue and adjusted operating profit in our Wireless and Cable divisions, as well as on a consolidated basis.

Margins, earnings per share, free cash flow and cash returns to shareholders were all up, both sequentially and against the prior year. In fact, our adjusted operating profit in Q2 this year, this quarter, is the highest ever reported by Rogers.

We had good postpaid subscriber results at Wireless in both the sales and retention fronts. And it was one of our stronger quarters in terms of the number of new higher value smartphone customers to join Rogers as new customers.

We, again this quarter, made solid improvement in the important postpaid churn metric, which we were successful in stabilizing earlier in the year. This quarter, we actually reduced postpaid churn on a year-over-year basis for the first time in over 2 years, and a sequential improvement from Q1 of this year as well.

It was also the fourth straight quarter in which we've been able to slow the year-over-year rate of decline of postpaid voice ARPU, which is another key metric as you know on the Wireless side. It's still clearly under pressure given the competitive dynamics in the market and the migration use of SMS and e-mail, but we've continued to manage this deadline as much as possible given the environment. While the strength of wireless data offset much of this pressure, we still saw a 2% overall decline in postpaid ARPU, which compares favorably to the 4% decline you would've seen in the first quarter. We continued to drive our wireless data strategy activating approximately 630,000 smartphones, putting the percentage of postpaid base now on these higher value devices and plans at 63%, up from 48% this time last year.

Our smartphone metrics, ARPU, churn and upgrade rates, remain healthy given the competitive backdrop, and at the same time, we're attracting and retaining our highest lifetime value customers, which is squarely on strategy. As a result, we continue to drive double-digit revenue growth in our wireless data business, which is the most significant driver of our top line.

Also on the wireless data front, we furthered our machine-to-machine, or M2M, opportunities with a significant announcement, which will enable us to drive even faster in that space where frankly, we are the forefront here in Canada. During the quarter, we joined with 6 other large international wireless carriers, forming a global alliance to cooperate on global M2M business initiatives. With this, we'll jointly support a single global platform that multinational customers can leverage to enable connected devices in multiple countries to better manage operations, reduce cost. And this includes a single SIM that works simultaneously, seamlessly across borders of member countries. And as some of you may have seen, we also announced, together with CIBC, the launch of Canada's first mobile payment solution that allows Rogers subscribers to pay wirelessly by credit card at the checkout counters of businesses across Canada using Rogers smartphones.

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