BCE earnings get boost from wireless gains

BCE, Canada's biggest telecom company, reported a higher fourth-quarter profit amid gains at its wireless business, as it prepares to be taken private in a C$34.8 billion buyout, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said net earnings were C$2.35 billion ($2.35 billion), or C$2.93 per share, up from C$699 million, lifted by gains from the sale of its Telesat satellite subsidiary and lower interest and income tax expenses.

Before restructuring and other items, BCE earned C$577 million up from C$353 million a year earlier.

National Bank Financial analyst Greg MacDonald wrote in a note to clients that the company's net wireless subscriber additions, at 195,000 during the quarter, were slightly better than his estimate of 184,000, the Reuters report said.

He also noted that average revenue per user rose 3.8 % and was higher than expected, 'signaling that the company is not relying on pre-paid growth to make their numbers.'

Operating revenue for the quarter was C$4.55 billion, up from C$4.53 billion for the same quarter a year earlier.