Bell Aliant Q4 2011 revenues slide 2% to $701M

Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) continued to see IP network growing pains in Q4 2011, reporting that revenue declined 2 percent year-on-year to CAD 701 million (USD 704 million), while net profit reached CAD 80 million (USD 80.3 million).

The service provider did not provide a comparable year-on-year profit figure because in January 2011 it reverted to a corporate structure from an income trust.

However, it did see revenue gains from customers signing up for Fiber to the Home (FTTH)-based 'FibreOP' broadband data and video services.

"We met or exceeded all of our financial targets while executing an aggressive construction program expanding our fiber-to-the-home coverage area," said Karen Sheriff, president and chief executive officer for Bell Aliant in the earnings release. "This expansion is improving our opportunities for revenue growth by giving more customers access to the best Internet and TV service bundle available in our markets."

  • Wireline losses: As expected local voice service and long distance revenues declined 6.6 percent and 5.3 percent respectively compared to the same quarter in 2010. During the quarter, Bell Aliant reported net Network Access Service (NAS) declines of 44,000, up slightly from 43,000 in Q4 2010.
  • Broadband, Internet services: At the end of 2011, Bell Aliant had 862,000 high speed Internet customers, up 2.4 percent from Q4 2010. However, it only added 2,000 new customers, down from the 5,000 it added in Q4 2010. It attributes the lower subscriber increase to growing cable competition and ongoing customer migration to its FibreOP service set. It added 13,000 new FibreOP Internet customers, bringing it to a total of 47,000 customers at the end of 2011. At the same time, Bell Aliant passed an additional 60,000 homes and businesses with FTTH, bringing its total FTTH coverage to 458,000 premises at the end of December 2011.
  • Video services: It was another good quarter for IPTV with CAD 14 million (USD 14.03 million) in Q4 2011 revenue and a total of 77,000 customers as of the end of 2011. During the quarter, the service provider added 9,000 new IPTV customers. FibreOP TV customers grew by 11,000 in the quarter to reach 42,000 at the end of 2011, including migration from Bell Aliant's hybrid copper/fiber Fiber to the Node (FTTN)-based TV service.

The service provider has forecast operating revenues in 2012 between CAD 2.7 million (USD 2.71 million) and CAD 2.78 million (USD 2.79 million) compared to CAD 2.77 million (USD 2.78 million) in 2011.

One service area that Bell Aliant will continue focus on in 2012 will be the continued expansion its FTTH network. By the end of the year, the service provider said it plans to pass about 650,000 new premises with FTTH, a slight increase from its previous target of more than 600,000.

However, the growth in broadband service and IPTV would be offset by a continuing decline in traditional voice revenues.

For more:
- see the release

Special report: Wireline in the fourth quarter 2011

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