Shaw Communications Inc. says it has been able to minimize flood-related disruptions to its infrastructure in Alberta and is on track to generate more free cash than previously expected in the current financial year.
As a result of improved free cash flow, Shaw said Friday it’s planning dividend increases of 5 to 10 per cent over each of the next two years.
The Calgary-based cable, Internet and TV company had $1.33-billion of revenue in its third quarter ended May 31– up 4 per cent from last year.
Its overall net income edged up to $250-million from $248-million in the year-earlier quarter, although earnings per share dropped a penny to 52 cents, Shaw said Friday.
Net income was bolstered by increased operating income – which increased to $585-million from $567-million a year earlier – and a $50-million gain from Shaw’s sale of Mountain Cable in Hamilton to Rogers Communications Inc.
Shaw said its free cash flow during the third quarter, which ended before Alberta suffered its worst flooding on record, was $138-million.
The company said the strength of its network and responsiveness of its technical team kept service disruptions to a minimum.
“Technical, maintenance and customer care teams took immediate action to repair services for affected customers and proactive steps to maintain service and prevent any significant damage to Shaw infrastructure,” Shaw said in a news release.
Shaw also said it’s on track to generate between $590-million and $600-million of free cash flow in fiscal 2013, which is above the company’s previous guidance.
For the first nine months of the current fiscal year, which began Sept. 1, 2012, Shaw has generated $543-million of free cash flow, up from $379-million a year earlier.
“Given the improvement in free cash flow and continued favourable market conditions, our board plans to target dividend increases of 5 per cent to 10 per cent over each of the next two years,” chief executive Brad Shaw said.
Revenue in the company’s cable division increased four per cent to $825-million from the same period last year.
Satellite revenue for the quarter was $218-million compared with $211 in the same quarter of 2012.
Revenue and operating income before amortization in the media division for the quarter of was $116-million, up 2 per cent from the same period last year.
Shaw Media operates one of the largest conventional television networks in Canada, Global Television, and 19 specialty networks including HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, History and Showcase.
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