Bell Canada's net earnings jump 45 percent; wireline losses improve, TV coverage grows

Telecom giant Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) reported fourth quarter 2012 earnings this week that showcased a 45 percent jump in net earnings--although just 4.5 percent after adjustments--as well as improvement in access line losses and its IPTV footprint.

The net earnings for Q4 2012 attributable to common shareholders came in at $708 million, or $0.91 per share, a 45.7 percent increase over the $486 million reported for the same quarter in 2011. Adjusted net earnings, however, were $506 million, an increase of 4.5 percent.

The most positive news on the wireline service front to come out of the quarter was that the telco's Bell Fibe TV posted net subscriber additions of 48,234 as it expanded its service footprint to 3.3 million households. The telco also said that residential local access line losses improved by about 3 percent from the last quarter of 2011. Still, wireline operating revenue was down about 3.7 percent for the quarter on reduced business spending and other factors, continuing a trend that brought wireline operating revenue for the year to about 3.8 percent.

TV and broadband expansion were the primary reasons behind Bell Canada's 8.9 percent rise in capex in Q4 2012 to $779 million, or about $2.9 billion for the year. The company expanded fiber broadband access to more residential and business customers in Québec and Ontario in particular.

Shares of BCE were down slightly in noontime trading on the NYSE, at $43.81.

For more:
- here's the earnings release

Special Report: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012

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