Telesat sale drives BCE Q4 numbers

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TORONTO -- Despite static revenue, Canadian phone giant BCE Inc. on Wednesday posted sharply higher fourth-quarter earnings after booking a CAN$1.89 billion ($1.88 billion) gain on the sale of its Telesat satellite business.

Montreal-based BCE posted earnings of CAN$2.35 billion ($2.34 billion) for the three months through Dec. 31, against earnings of CAN$699 million in 2006.

Total revenue rose just 0.4% to CAN$4.54 billion as revenue growth from its traditional landline phone business was offset by lower revenue from Telesat, the satellite business BCE sold to the federal Public Sector Pension Investment Board and U.S.-based Loral Space and Communications last October.

In addition its legacy phone service, BCE owns and operates domestic satellite TV service Bell ExpressVu LLP and has a minority stake in the CTV national TV network.

BCE is currently the subject of a CAN$51.7 billion takeover, the country's largest ever, by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, the phone giant's largest shareholder, and U.S. partners Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC.
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