TELUS Corporation's fourth quarter 2012 revenue increased six per cent to $2.85 billion from a year earlier, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by more than eight per cent to $947 million. Earnings per share (EPS) rose 17 per cent to $0.89.
Consolidated revenue growth was generated by an eight per cent increase in wireless revenue, due to continued subscriber and data average revenue per unit (ARPU) growth, and a 13 per cent increase in wireline data revenue. Consolidated EBITDA growth primarily reflects higher wireless EBITDA driven by revenue growth and higher margins.
TELUS finished the year with 13.1 million customer connections, adding 132,000 connections in the final quarter of the year. In the quarter, TELUS added 123,000 new postpaid wireless customers, 41,000 new TV subscribers and 23,000 high-speed Internet customers, partially offset by losses of prepaid wireless customers, phone lines and dial-up Internet. TELUS' total wireless subscriber base of 7.7 million is up 4.5 per cent year over year, the TELUS TV subscriber base of 678,000 is up 33 per cent, and the number of high-speed Internet customers is up nearly seven per cent to 1.3 million.
Free cash flow in the fourth quarter increased 29 per cent from a year ago to $263 million primarily due to higher EBITDA. For the year, free cash flow increased 34 per cent to $1.3 billion.
C$ and in millions, except per share amounts three months ended
December 31 per cent
(unaudited) 2012 2011 change
Operating revenues 2,851 2,690 6.0
Operating expenses before depreciation and amortization 1,904 1,816 4.8
EBITDA(1) 947 874 8.4
Net income(2) 291 237 22.8
Earnings per share (EPS), basic(2) 0.89 0.76 17.1
Capital expenditures 521 512 1.8
Free cash flow(3) 263 204 28.9
Total customer connections(4) 13.1 12.7 3.0
(1) For definition, see Section 7.1 in the 2012 fourth quarter Management's review of operations.
(2) Net income and EPS for both the fourth quarter of 2012 and 2011 included favourable income tax-related adjustments of $10 million or three cents per share.
(3) For definition, see Section 7.2 in 2012 fourth quarter Management's review of operations.
(4) Sum of wireless subscribers, network access lines, total Internet subscribers and TELUS TV subscribers (IPTV and satellite TV).
Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO said; "2012 was an exceptional year for TELUS, fuelled by our long-term strategy of investing in broadband data technology and services and applications within our core business. This has been achieved whilst maintaining an unremitting focus on putting customers first in every aspect of our business. Accordingly, in 2012 TELUS earned 385,000 new customers connections across our Optik TV, high-speed Internet and wireless lines of business. Notably, our valued customers are staying with us longer as evidenced by our industry leading 1.12 per cent postpaid wireless monthly churn rate. This operational performance translated into strong fourth quarter 2012 financial results as demonstrated by growth in wireless data revenue of 22 per cent and in wireline data revenue of 13 per cent. This helped drive consolidated EBITDA growth of eight per cent, a net income increase of 23 per cent and free cash flow growth of 29 per cent to $263 million. We firmly believe that TELUS will continue to build on this extraordinary momentum in 2013 and beyond."
Mr. Entwistle stated, "Operating efficiency is an ongoing way of life at the TELUS organization made necessary by the competitive intensity in our industry and legacy business margin pressure. Accordingly, we are implementing an earnings enhancement programme over the next 36 months to drive improvements in annual EBITDA of $250 million by 2015. This is reflected in the 56 per cent increase in our planned 2013 restructuring charge of $75 million and our 2013 targets, which include a significant improvement in our wireline EBITDA trend in 2013."
Mr. Entwistle noted, "Our strong cash flow and 2013 targeted earnings growth supports our shareholder friendly, three-year, 10 per cent dividend growth model, which we are clearly delivering on with ongoing semi-annual dividend increases. I look forward to the Annual General Meeting in May to update investors on our dividend growth model for the next three years and our intentions with respect to multi-year share repurchase programmes."
Mr. Entwistle added: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to our committed shareholders for their overwhelming support of our successful share exchange. TELUS shareholders now benefit from increased liquidity and strengthened marketability of our 326 million common shares, which are now listed on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time."
John Gossling, TELUS Executive Vice-President and CFO said, "Our 2013 targets announced today show mid-single digit growth in revenue and EBITDA that translates into EPS growth of up to 14 per cent. This is made possible by our planned EBITDA growth not only in the wireless business, but also in wireline, facilitated by on-going major strategic network and technology investments, as well as a continued intense focus on operational efficiency initiatives."
Mr. Gossling added, "The financial strength of TELUS was demonstrated in December with the $500 million issuance of 10 year notes at a very attractive interest rate of 3.35 per cent based on our strong investment grade credit ratings, good liquidity position and healthy balance sheet. With $1.9 billion of available liquidity, we are exceedingly well positioned for the modest $300 million of debt coming due in 2013 and for our participation in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction."
•External wireless revenues increased by $109 million or 7.7 per cent to more than $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a year ago. This growth was driven by continued growth in subscribers and ARPU.
•Data revenue increased by $104 million or 22 per cent to $570 million, which makes up 41 per cent of network revenue. Data ARPU increased by $3.64 or 17 per cent to $25.29. These increases were due to continued strong adoption of smartphones and applications, as well as related data plans, higher roaming volumes, increased revenues from text messaging and growth in mobile Internet devices and tablets.
•Blended ARPU increased by $1.87 or 3.2 per cent to $60.95 as data ARPU growth more than offset a moderating 4.7 per cent voice ARPU decline. This is the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in blended ARPU.
•Monthly postpaid subscriber churn was 1.12 per cent, down 11 basis points from a year ago, while blended churn decreased 16 basis points to 1.51 per cent. This is the best fourth quarter churn result in six years, reflecting TELUS' successful Customers First marketing and service approach, investments in retention and lower churn on smartphones.
•Total wireless net additions of 112,000 were lower by 17,000 year-over-year, as postpaid net additions of 123,000 were offset by a loss of 11,000 lower ARPU prepaid subscribers. Postpaid net additions, which declined by 17 per cent from a year ago, were impacted by lower gross additions, partly offset by lower churn.
•Total wireless subscribers were up 4.5 per cent from a year ago to 7.67 million, while the proportion of high-value postpaid subscribers grew to 85 per cent. Smartphone subscribers now represent 66 per cent of TELUS postpaid subscriber base, which is up from 53 per cent a year ago.
•Wireless EBITDA of $569 million increased $69 million or 14 per cent over last year due to strong network revenue growth and expense management. The EBITDA margin increased by 2.0 points to 36.9 per cent. Simple cash flow (EBITDA less capital expenditures) increased by $46 million or 14 per cent to $378 million in the quarter. EBITDA growth was partially offset by increased capital spending related to the ongoing investments in TELUS' 4G network capacity and coverage.
•External wireline revenues increased by $52 million or 4.1 per cent to over $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, when compared with the same period a year ago. This growth was generated by increased data service and equipment revenues, partially offset by moderate declines in legacy voice and other revenues.
•Data service and equipment revenues increased by $90 million or 13 per cent, due primarily to strong growth in the TELUS TV subscriber base and high-speed Internet and enhanced data services, TV and high-speed Internet rate increases and higher data equipment sales to businesses.
•TV additions - both IP-based Optik TV and satellite TELUS TV - of 41,000 were lower by 15,000 than the same quarter last year, as lower gross additions were partly offset by a significant improvement in churn. The total TV subscriber base of 678,000 is up 33 per cent or 169,000 from a year ago.
•High-speed Internet net additions of 23,000 were stable year over year, and reflect successful promotions and the pull-through effect of Optik TV sales. TELUS' high-speed subscriber base of 1.3 million is up 6.8 per cent or 84,000 from a year ago.
•Total network access lines declined 5.2 per cent from a year ago to 3.4 million. Residential lines are down 7.7 per cent over last year, reflecting ongoing wireless and Internet substitution and competition. Business lines are down 7,000 in the quarter and 39,000 for the year, reflecting ongoing price-based competition in the small and medium business market and customer adoption of IP services.
•Wireline EBITDA of $378 million increased by $4 million or 1.1 per cent due to improving Optik TV and Internet margins resulting from price increases, a lower cost of subscriber acquisition and subscriber growth. This is the first quarter-over-quarter increase in two years.
•Simple cash flow (EBITDA less capital expenditures) increased by $18 million or 60 per cent to $48 million in the quarter due to lower capital spending and higher EBITDA.
TELUS sets 2013 financial targets and new dividend payout ratio
TELUS today announced 2013 financial targets that reflect continued execution of the company's long-standing and successful national growth strategy focused on wireless and data.
TELUS' 2013 targets build on the strong results achieved in both wireless and wireline in 2012, including strong double-digit data revenue growth in both operating segments of the business. TELUS plans to generate future growth through wireless net additions combined with smartphone adoption and upgrades, continued Optik TV and high-speed Internet subscriber growth, while assuming ARPU growth across these services.
These targets demonstrate the benefits of the company's ongoing major strategic network and service-related investments combined with customer-focused operational execution, which has resulted in revenue and profitability growth as well as strong free cash flow.
The 2013 targets and 2012 comparative results are presented based on applying amended accounting standard IAS 19 Employee Benefits (2011), effective in 2013. For targets presented before application of IAS 19 please see Section 1.4 of the Management's review of operations, which follows.
After application of IAS 19 2013 Targets 2012 adjusted results Growth
Revenues $11.4 to $11.6 billion $10.921 billion 4 to 6%
EBITDA(1)(2) $3.95 to $4.15 billion $3.859 billion 2 to 8%
Earnings per share (reported)(2) $3.80 to $4.20 $3.69 3 to 14%
Capital expenditures, excluding
payments for spectrum (3) Approx. $1.95 billion $1.981 billion -
Revenue (external) $6.2 to $6.3 billion $5.845 billion 6 to 8%
EBITDA(2) $2.575 to $2.675 billion $2.458 billion 5 to 9%
Revenue (external) $5.2 to $5.3 billion $5.076 billion 2 to 4%
EBITDA(2) $1.375 to $1.475 billion $1.401 billion (2) to 5
1) Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) after restructuring costs.
Total restructuring costs are estimated at approximately $75 million in 2013 ($48 million in 2012).
2) The 2013 targets and comparative figures for 2012 EBITDA and EPS include the effects from applying
amended accounting standard IAS 19 Employee Benefits (2011).
3) Capital expenditure target for 2013 excludes purchases of wireless spectrum.
For 2013, TELUS is targeting consolidated year-over-year revenue growth of between 4 and 6 per cent, while EBITDA is targeted to be higher by 2 to 8 per cent. Revenue and EBITDA should benefit from continued strong execution in wireless and data services. Earnings per share (EPS) is targeted to be higher by 3 to 14 per cent, due to EBITDA growth.
TELUS wireless revenue is targeted to increase between 6 and 8 per cent in 2013 as a result of modest growth in subscribers and ARPU. Loading should benefit from a Canadian wireless industry penetration gain similar to 2012 of approximately two to three percentage points. TELUS should continue to benefit from its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network investments, resulting in continued growth in data and roaming revenues and helping to offset moderating declines in voice ARPU. Wireless EBITDA is targeted to be higher by between 5 and 9 per cent.
Wireline revenue is targeted to increase between 2 and 4 per cent in 2013, reflecting continued data revenue growth from Optik TV and high-speed Internet, as well as from business services, partially offset by continued decreases in legacy voice revenues. The wireline EBITDA range is targeted to increase by up to five per cent or to be lower by two per cent. The company assumes margin improvements from Optik services, large enterprise business and efficiency initiatives, partially offset by the ongoing industry trend of revenue losses from higher-margin legacy voice services. It should be noted that before applying amended accounting standard IAS 19 (2011), the 2013 wireline EBITDA target was $1.5 to $1.6 billion, an increase of zero to six per cent from 2012 reported EBITDA of $1.5 billion, which was down 5.5 per cent from 2011.
Consolidated capital expenditures in 2013 are targeted to remain at approximately $1.95 billion, which excludes purchases of spectrum, including the cost for 700MHz spectrum from a planned national auction in the second half of 2013. The company plans to continue investing in wireless capacity and network growth, while investment in urban deployment of 4G LTE is planned to decline. TELUS intends to continue broadband infrastructure expansion and upgrades to support Optik TV and high-speed Internet subscriber growth and faster Internet broadband speeds. In addition, the company plans to complete the new advanced Internet data centre in Kamloops, B.C. Capital intensity as a percentage of consolidated revenue is targeted to decline to approximately 17 per cent from 18 per cent in the last three years.
As an outcome of our 2013 targets, free cash flow before dividends and potential wireless spectrum purchase costs is calculated to be in the range of $1.2 to $1.4 billion, which is comparable to $1.3 billion in 2012. Strong growth in EBITDA is being offset by higher cash taxes in the range of $390 to $440 million ($150 million in 2012). Cash taxes are moving higher due to rising taxable income and we do not anticipate major positive adjustments in 2013 as were attained in past years, such as resolutions of prior years' tax issues.
The preceding disclosure respecting TELUS' 2013 financial targets and the following disclosure on TELUS dividend payout ratio guideline contain forward-looking information and are fully qualified by the 'Caution regarding forward-looking statements' at the beginning of the accompanying Management's review of operations for the fourth quarter of 2012 and are based on management's expectations and assumptions as set out in section 1.5 entitled 'Financial and operating targets for 2013' of such Management's review of operations.
Financial guideline on dividend payout increased
TELUS follows a published set of financial objectives, policies and guidelines, including generally maintaining a minimum of $1 billion of unutilized liquidity, maintaining a ratio of net debt to EBITDA (excluding restructuring costs) of 1.5 to 2.0 times, and following a dividend payout ratio guideline.
The Board of Directors has approved a 10 percentage point increase in the dividend payout ratio guideline to a range of 65 to 75 per cent of sustainable net earnings on a prospective basis for dividends declared in 2013 onward. This change is due to the negative non-cash impact on EPS of applying in 2013 the amended accounting standard IAS 19 for employee benefits.
CORPORATE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENTS
TELUS completes non-voting share exchange effective February 4
TELUS completed its exchange of all non-voting shares for common shares on a one-for-on basis on February 4.
At a shareholder meeting on October 17, TELUS shareholders overwhelmingly approved TELUS' revised proposal to exchange non-voting shares into common shares on a one-for-one basis. Of the votes cast, 62.9 per cent of common shares and 99.5 per cent of non-voting shares were in favour of the exchange.
In December, the Supreme Court of B.C. approved the share exchange and dismissed Mason Capital's appeals. However, Mason filed a further appeal and the court issued a stay postponing the exchange until this appeal was concluded. Mason announced in January that its previously-reported hedged position of approximately 19 per cent of TELUS common shares had been reduced to 3.4 per cent. On January 25, Mason and TELUS agreed to abandon all litigation, allowing the share exchange to be completed effective on February 4, 2013. The agreement did not involve the payment of funds to either party.
TELUS now has a single class of 326 million common shares, which are trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for the first time, as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Having a single class of widely traded shares should benefit all shareholders through enhanced marketability and trading volumes and enhances TELUS' track record of excellence in corporate governance.
TELUS non-voting shares were delisted from the NYSE on February 4 and from the TSX on February 8. TELUS common shares were listed and began trading on the NYSE on February 4 under the symbol "TU," the same symbol under which TELUS' non-voting shares had traded previously. The additional common shares issued began trading on the TSX on February 11 under the current symbol 'T.'
Registered shareholders who held non-voting shares certificates do not need to take any action. A DRS (Direct Registration System) advice form was mailed to registered shareholders for the total number of common shares received upon the exchange. This allows registered shareholders to hold their new common shares in "book-entry" form without having a physical share certificate. TELUS' agent Computershare mailed the DRS Advice forms to registered holders of former non-voting shares on February 13, 2013.
John Gossling new CFO effective January 1
John Gossling became TELUS' chief financial officer on January 1, 2013 after joining the executive team in November 2012. He is a highly talented and proven finance executive with extensive experience in the communications industry. From 2008 to 2011, John was the CFO of CTVglobemedia, leading all financial activities for the company. From 2000 to 2008, he held senior leadership roles with the Rogers Communications organization, including CFO at Rogers Wireless.
TELUS issues $500 million of long-term debt at attractive rate
In December, TELUS successfully completed a $500 million public offering of 10-year 3.35 per cent notes. The net proceeds of the new bonds were used to repay a portion of our outstanding commercial paper. This debt issue and attractive interest rate demonstrates TELUS' excellent access to capital markets based on the company's strong investment grade credit ratings, good liquidity position and healthy balance sheet.
TELUS launches highly anticipated BlackBerry Z10
In February, TELUS launched the long-anticipated BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone. The new device has been re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented to be the fastest and most advanced BlackBerry yet. Enhancements include:
•Blackberry Hub, which ensures the information that matters most to customers is only one swipe away;
•An enhanced keyboard that enables customers to type faster and more accurately;
•BBM™ (BlackBerry Messenger), which allows customers to share things in an instant with the people who matter to them;
•BlackBerry Balance™ technology, which protects what is important to customers and the businesses they work for.
TELUS adds new Android and Windows Phone 8 smartphones to its device line-up
In the fourth quarter, TELUS continued to offer customers a wide choice of the latest and best Android and Windows 8 devices, including the HTC One X+, Samsung ATIV S, the LG Optimus G, and the Samsung Ace II X.
TELUS' 4G LTE wireless network now reaches more than two-thirds of Canadians
In the fourth quarter, TELUS extended its LTE network to reach more than two-thirds of Canadians. Now, the world's fastest and most advanced wireless technology is also available in:
•British Columbia: 100 Mile House, Meritt, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St John, Tumbler Ridge, Golden, Revelstoke, Sunshine Coast, Armstrong
•Alberta: Fort McKay, Lloydminster, Hinton, Jasper, Fort McMurray
•Ontario: Brantford, St. Catharines, Blue Mountain, Sudbury, Niagara Falls, Leamington, Thunder Bay, Oshawa, Whitby
•Quebec: St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Ste-Marie de Beauce, Sept-Îles, Port Cartier, Trois Rivières, Matane, Ste-Hyacinthe
•New Brunswick: Moncton
•Newfoundland and Labrador: St. John's.
TELUS opens advanced, green Internet data centre in Rimouski
In December, TELUS officially opened its new $65 million Intelligent Internet Data Centre (IDC) in Rimouski, announcing it will invest an additional $13 million in added IT infrastructure to bring world-class cloud-based solutions to Canadian businesses. Over 80 per cent more energy-efficient than traditional IDCs, the new facility ranks among the top-performing data centres in the world and provides TELUS clients with maximum reliability and security. TELUS will open a similar facility in Kamloops, B.C. in mid-2013.
TELUS is contributing to Canada's competitiveness by offering world-class managed cloud-based solutions that enable businesses to focus on their core activities, while providing business agility, helping to align IT with business strategy, and providing significant cost savings.
TELUS Health and Desjardins bring simplicity to online claims
In December, TELUS Health and Desjardins Financial Security (DFS) announced the availability of point-of-care online claim submissions via the TELUS Health eClaims web portal service. Now, allied healthcare providers - physiotherapists, chiropractors, vision care providers, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists and acupuncturists - can file claims in their offices for patients who are DFS plan members, saving patients time and accelerating the claims process.
TELUS one of The Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World
TELUS was the only North American telecommunications company to earn a place on the 2013 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ranking. The Global 100 is the world's most extensive data-driven corporate sustainability assessment. Corporate Knights uses the Global 100 ranking and the underlying research methodology to explore 'sustainable' investment strategies with investors.
TELUS inducted into Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame
In February, TELUS was inducted into Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame by executive search firm Waterstone Human Capital. The national program recognizes Canadian companies for having a culture that has helped them enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage. TELUS joins just five other Canadian companies that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award
Two TELUS leaders were among 100 outstanding women honoured by the Women's Executive Network (WXN) in 2012. Andrea Goertz, senior vice-president of strategic initiatives and communications, was recognized in the Corporate Executives category. Monique Mercier, senior vice-president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, was recognized in the Professionals category. WXN is Canada's leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of executive-minded women in the workplace.
TELUS wins Canadian Health Informatics Award 2012 Award for Corporate Citizenship
The TELUS Health team received the prestigious Canadian Health Informatics Corporate Citizenship Award in November. Kids' Health Link Foundation nominated TELUS Health for the award in recognition of TELUS Health's commitment to health informatics and its more than $1 billion investment in healthcare over the past five years.
TELUS top in 2012 Corporate Reporting Awards
In November, TELUS received the top overall award at the 2012 Corporate Reporting Awards, presented by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). This is the third year in a row TELUS has won the top award and the fifth time in the last six years. The awards cover all aspects of corporate reporting including financial reporting, corporate governance disclosure, electronic disclosure and sustainable development reporting.
TELUS receives Canadian Partner of the Year Award from Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks named TELUS its Canadian Partner of the Year in November. TELUS was honoured with the award at the Palo Alto Networks Americas Partner Summit 2012 for, among other things, continued excellence in technical support and customer service.
TELUS honoured as Philanthropic Company of the Year
In November, TELUS became the first organization to be named Philanthropic Company of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Quebec Chapter (AFP-QC). Non-profit organization Lighthouse Children and Families nominated TELUS for the award. Each year, AFP-QC pays tribute to individuals and companies whose community engagement has a significant impact on Quebec society.
TELUS and Free the Children launch Give Where You Live curriculum
In January, TELUS and Free the Children announced the Give Where You Live program to encourage and empower young Canadians to become leaders in their local communities. Launching in 40 British Columbia secondary schools this year, the program aims to involve 150,000 youth across Canada in the philanthropic curriculum by 2016.
Dividend Declaration and new dividend payout ratio target guideline
The Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of sixty-four cents ($0.64) Canadian per share on the issued and outstanding Common shares of the Company payable on April 1, 2013 to holders of record at the close of business on March 11, 2013. This first quarter dividend is the same as the previous quarter, but represents a six cent or 10.3 per cent increase from the 58 cents paid a year earlier.
The Board of Directors approved a 10 percentage point increase in the dividend payout ratio guideline to a range of 65 to 75 per cent of sustainable net earnings on a prospective basis, effective for dividends declared in 2013 onwards. The change results from the negative non-cash effects from applying in 2013 the amended accounting standard IAS 19 Employee benefits (2011).