Rogers trims '09 revenue estimate

Company sees gains in wireless phone revenue

TORONTO -- Canadian wireless phone and cable giant Rogers Communications on Tuesday trimmed its 2009 revenue outlook due to recessionary pressures, even as it posted sharply higher second quarter earnings.

Toronto-based Rogers said earnings jumped 24% to CAN$374 million ($345 million), against a profit of CAN$301 million in 2008, on overall revenue up 3% to CAN$2.89 billion ($2.68 billion), compared to a year-earlier CAN$2.8 billion.

Rogers said gains from activating 315,000 smartphones during the latest quarter, which produced a 6% gain in wireless phone revenue to CAN$1.61 billion ($1.49 billion), were offset by lower roaming and long distance use by subscribers during the economic downturn.

Rogers reported its blended ARPU, or average revenue per unit, came to CAN$63.09 ($58.20), down from a year-earlier CAN$64.56.

The recession also slowed cable revenue, which rose 4% to CAN$972 million ($897 million) during the latest quarter, and soft TV ad sales led Rogers' media division to see its revenue fall 11% to CAN$366 million ($338 million).

"Whereas we had slower growth on our top line due to sustained recessionary economic pressures and the increasing maturation of certain of our services, we were successful during the second quarter in reducing costs, returning increasing amounts of cash to shareholders and further enhancing the quality of our balance sheet," Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed said.

Rogers trimmed its 2009 revenue forecast to growth in the 2% to 4% range, against an earlier projection of 5% to 9% growth, as it cited "greater and more prolonged than forecasted media advertising revenue declines associated with the sustained recessionary economic environment."