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Telus reports Q1 profit down from a year ago, raises quarterly dividend

Operating revenue and other income totalled $4.96B, up from $4.28B in the first three months of 2022
The Telus Corporation logo is seen on the outside of the company's headquarters in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. Telus reported its earnings for the latest quarter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Telus Corp. raised its dividend Thursday as it reported its first-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago on higher interest, depreciation and amortization, restructuring and other costs.

The Vancouver-based company said it will now pay quarterly dividend of 36.36 cents per share, up from 35.11 cents per share.

The increased payment to shareholders came as Telus reported a profit attributable to common shares of $217 million or 15 cents per diluted share, down from $385 million or 28 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Operating revenue and other income totalled $4.96 billion, up from $4.28 billion in the first three months of 2022.

On an adjusted basis, Telus said it earned 27 cents per share in its latest quarter, down from an adjusted profit of 30 cents per share a year earlier. Its adjusted net earnings totalled $386 million, down from $415 million the same period last year.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 26 cents per share and nearly $4.90 billion in revenue, according to estimates compiled by financial markets firm Refinitiv.

"We're not a one-hit wonder," said Telus president of consumer solutions Zainul Mawji in an interview.

"We're very, very pleased with our results and we continue to see the fruits of our strategy come from the customers really leaning into the diversified products and capabilities that we have and enjoying the benefits of our superior network."

Mawji said Telus continues to "push the investment envelope" and emphasize its differentiated brands, including Telus Agriculture and Telus Health, to compete with other big players such as Rogers Communications Inc. and Bell Canada.

"The competitors in the market are not new to us, we've competed with them and we're really focused on our strategy," she said.

"You can see from our track record that despite regulatory changes that can be very disruptive … we have over 20 years of consistency and delivery and so we'll continue to focus on our customer experience, our social capitalism and the principles that are near and dear to us that resonate with our customers."

The company added 47,000 net mobile phone subscribers, up 2.2 per cent from 46,000 last year.

Its monthly churn rate for postpaid mobile phone subscribers — a measure of subscribers who cancelled their service — was 0.7 per cent, up from 0.63 per cent during its previous first quarter.

Telus' wireless mobile phone average revenue per user was $58.61, up $2.16 from the first quarter of the prior year, which the company largely attributed to increased roaming as a result of more international travel.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:T, TSX:BCE, TSX: RCI.B)

Sammy Hudes, The Canadian Press

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