Quebecor's Q2 earnings rise sharply

Reports higher telecommunications revenue

TORONTO -- Riding the cable telephony wave, cable and broadcast giant Quebecor Inc. said Thursday that second-quarter earnings rose sharply on higher telecommunications revenue.

Montreal-based Quebecor posted earnings of CAN$76.8 million ($71.5 million) to June 30, up 33.6% from profits of CAN$57.5 million in 2008.

Second-quarter revenue was virtually unchanged at CAN$939.4 million ($876.3 million), against a year-earlier CAN$942.3 million.

The bottom line was helped by customer growth in cable telephony, which saw operating income grow 28%.

Quebecor competes in Quebec against legacy home phone giant BCE Inc., which on Thursday booked a 4.2% fall in second quarter earnings due to lower consumer spending during the recession on wireless and home phone, high speed Internet and satellite TV services.

BCE said earnings fell 4% to CAN$346 million ($322.7 million), against earnings of CAN$361 million in 2008, while revenue was off 2% to CAN$4.3 billion ($4 billion) from CAN$4.4 billion last year.

Bell TV, BCE's satellite TV service, managed a 9% rise in revenue to CAN$389 million ($362.8 million) as subscribers snapped up higher-priced packages.

Quebecor is to invest around CAN$1 billion ($930 million) to roll out a wireless phone division to compete against BCE and rival cable operator Rogers Communications, the country's largest cell phone provider.

That move comes as domestic cable and phone giants increasingly compete on each other's turf with bundled TV, phone and Internet packages.