Telus Corp. T-T reported flat adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter as a modest gain in revenue was offset by higher operating expenses.
The Vancouver telecom company reported total operating revenue for the quarter of $5.05-billion, a 3.8-per-cent increase compared with last year. Telus said the gain was driven by growth in its technology division, including health care, and consumer service segments.
On a net income basis, Telus reported a 60-per-cent drop in profit to $265-million or 17 cents a share, reflecting a pre-tax gain of $410-million in the fourth quarter of 2021 from the sale of its financial services business to legal software provider Dye & Durham. On an adjusted basis, the company reported net income of $333-million or 23 cents a share, compared with $331-million or 23 cents a year earlier.
For the year 2022, Telus posted profit of $1.7-billion, up about 1 per cent from 2021, and 6.7-per-cent growth in operating revenue and other income to $18.4-billion, compared with $17.3-billion the previous year.
In September, 2022, Telus bought LifeWorks, a U.S.-based health technology and human resources company, for $2.2-billion as part of its expansion into digital customer services. For the year, revenue from health-related business lines increased by 75 per cent. Darren Entwistle, Telus president and chief executive officer, said in a news release that the company would “focus intensely on integrating and scaling” its global health operations in 2023.
The company added 301,000 net customers across mobile and fixed services – including internet, security and television connections – during the latest quarter, up from 272,000 from last year. Mr. Entwistle said this was the company’s best fourth quarter on record for customer acquisitions.
Revenue from its mobile network grew by 6.5 per cent over last year. Zainul Mawji, president of Telus Consumer Solutions, told The Globe this was a result of increased roaming charges from more international travel and customers upgrading to more expensive plans.
However, the company’s mobile customer growth remained flat. In the fourth quarter, Telus added 112,000 net mobile phone users, the same amount as last year. Telus attributed this lack of net growth to heightened competition during promotional periods and higher retail foot traffic. Rivals Rogers Communications Inc. and BCE Inc. also referenced heightened competition in their own fourth-quarter reports last week.
Ms. Mawji said the company was focusing on attracting customers to its premium plans. “We’re not going to chase the promotional intensity,” she said.
The company said it aims to increase operating revenue by 11 to 14 per cent in 2023.
Subsidiary Telus International also reported fourth-quarter and annual results on Feb 9. For the year, the company posted a 5-per-cent increase in revenue and a 53-per-cent increase in profit compared with 2021.
Telus shares closed down almost 3.8 per cent to $27.03 on Thursday.