BCE Inc. (TSE: BCE) (NYSE: BCE) hiked its dividend as it reported lower fourth-quarter earnings from a year ago, when the company’s earnings were boosted by the sale of Bell’s data centers to Equinix.
Canada’s largest telecommunications company announced a 5.1%, or C$0.18 per share, increase in BCE’s annual common stock dividend to C$3.68.
Revenues & Earnings
Operating revenues came in at C$6.2 billion for the quarter ended December 31, an increase of 1.8% from the prior-year quarter.
Wireless operating revenue, Residential Internet revenue, and Media revenue grew 2.8%, 11%, and 7.3%, respectively, in Q4 2021. Wireline revenue decreased by 0.5%.
Net earnings decreased 29.4% to C$658 million. Net earnings attributable to common shareholders amounted to C$625 million (C$0.69 per share) in Q4 2021, down 29.6%. Meanwhile, adjusted EPS was C$0.76, down 6.2% from C$0.81 a year ago.
The company added 109,726 total net new postpaid and prepaid mobile phone subscribers, up 77.8% from 61,716 in Q4 2020.
BCE Reaffirms 2021 Guidance
BCE and Bell Canada President and CEO Mirko Bibic said, “As we look ahead to 2022, we plan to reach up to 900,000 more homes and businesses with direct fiber connections and expand the reach of our 5G network to meet our growing customer needs. And in every interaction, we will continue to build on the gains we made in making it easier for our customers to do business with us and keep them at the center of everything we do.”
Wall Street’s Take
On February 1, Scotiabank analyst Jeff Fan kept a Buy rating on BCE and C$68 price target. This implies 1.7% upside potential.
The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about BCE with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on three Buys and four Holds.
The average BCE price target of C$66.58 implies a downside potential of about 0.4% from current levels.
TipRanks’ Smart Score Rating
BCE scores a 7 out of 10 on the TipRanks Smart Score rating system, indicating that the stock returns are likely to be in line with the overall market.
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