Telus Corp. (TSE:T), the third-largest carrier, jumped to the highest in more than five months after hiking its quarterly dividend as third-quarter profit surpassed estimates, driven by growth in both its wireless and wireline operations.
Telus shares gained 2.2 percent to C$37.08 at 2:03 p.m. in Toronto, after reaching $37.36, the highest price since May 22. The stock had rallied 11 percent this year through yesterday, outpacing rivals Rogers Communications Inc. (TSE:RCI.B) and BCE Inc. (TSE:BCE).
The Vancouver, British Colombia-based company said it boosted its quarterly payout by 12.5 percent to 36 cents per common share, payable Jan. 2, 2014, according to a statement.
Stripping out some costs and gains, per-share earnings were 58 Canadian cents in the three months ended Sept. 30. The average estimate of analysts was 54 cents.
Sales jumped 3.6 percent to C$2.87 billion, below the C$2.91 billion expected by analysts.
Telus added 106,000 wireless customers on contract during the July-to-September quarter, above the 104,000 average estimate of analysts.
Toronto-based Rogers Communications Inc. (TSE:RCI.B) added 64,000 subscribers in the quarter on that basis and Montreal-based BCE Inc. (TSE:BCE) gained 102,714. Those two companies fell short of estimates, something they blamed in part on a government-mandated shift to two-year contracts from the traditional three-year plans.
Telus’s average revenue per contract user increased 1.7 percent to C$62.49 in the quarter, as customers used more wireless data but spoke less on their smartphones. That metric represents the average consumer monthly bill and compared to $60.81 for Rogers and $58.30 for BCE.
Net additions of postpaid customers, which are the most lucrative wireless subscribers, totaled 106,000 for Telus versus 64,000 for Rogers and 102,714 for BCE. All three big carriers, however, recorded year-over-year declines in postpaid net additions.
Last month, Telus agreed to buy Public Mobile for an undisclosed amount to boost subscriber growth. Its bid to purchase Mobilicity has been blocked by the government, which says it won’t allow BCE, Telus or Rogers to amass more wireless spectrum by acquiring their struggling competitors.