BUSINESS

Rogers could lower its 2012 financial guidance due to cable, wireless pressures

07/23/2012 03:17 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT
Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) could lower its 2012 financial guidance due to competitive pressures in its cable and wireless divisions when the company reports its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Analysts from Desjardins Financial and UBS Investment Research said Rogers is facing pressure on its revenues and the Toronto multimedia company has already cut costs.

"Given the trends seen so far this year — weak media metrics, pressure on the cable business and continued pressure in wireless — it is possible that Rogers will lower its guidance for 2012," Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi said in a research note.

"The introduction of a significant cost-cutting initiative could allow the company to maintain its guidance," Yaghi said.

Rogers has cut almost 700 jobs so far this year.

The company has forecast an adjusted operating profit of between $4.73 billion to $4.91 billion in 2012. Rogers has forecast wireless network revenue of between $6.65 million to $6.8 million and cable revenue of $3.38 million to $3.4 million.

But UBS analyst Phillip Huang noted that Rogers' management has acknowledged that pressures on revenues, for both wireless and cable, have been greater than anticipated. He said the company's new chief financial officer Anthony Staffieri is already on a cost-cutting mission.

"With Mr. Staffieri as the new CFO, management has accelerated cost reduction initiatives to sustain operating profits and cash flows," Huang wrote in a note.

"Nonetheless, we see high likelihood of management lowering guidance. We note that consensus estimates are already 1.5 per cent to three per cent below the mid-point of current guidance."

Huang said Rogers' cable division could take a hit.

"Given Rogers' growing footprint overlap with Bell Fibe, we believe the cable business has a higher risk of negative surprise than the wireless business."

In its first quarter, Rogers said it lost 7,000 cable customers in a highly competitive period with Bell's IPTV service. Huang said at that time the loss of subscribers was not a "one-off event'' and he predicted Rogers will lose 86,000 cable subscribers in 2012.

Rogers has said it hopes to get increased revenues from its mobile banking initiative, Internet-connected devices such as parking meters and machines and other business services.

Analysts' estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters expected revenue of $3.14 billion for its second quarter. Earnings per share were estimated at 87 cents. Both estimates have the company performing slightly better than the year-ago quarter.

Toronto-based Rogers is Canada's largest cable TV operator and wireless operator and is a major magazine publisher, TV and radio broadcaster and owner of the Toronto Blue Jays.

It also owns a slate of print magazines including Maclean's and Chatelaine.

Major telecom Telus (TSX:T) reports its second quarter results on Aug. 3 and BCE (TSX:BCE) on Aug. 8.