Shaw Communications earnings dip

Despite customer growth and rate increases

TORONTO -- Despite customer growth and rate increases, Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications on Friday posted a 6% fall in fourth-quarter earnings and a fiscal 2009 earnings slide.

Canada's second-largest cable operator posted three-month earnings to Aug. 31 at CAN$124 million ($118.2 million), against a profit of CAN$132.3 million in 2008.

Fourth quarter revenue was up 8% to CAN$872.9 million ($832.5 million), against a year-earlier CAN$805.7 million. Calgary-based Shaw's cable operations saw revenue rise 10% to CAN$682 million ($650.5 million) during the latest quarter.

Full-year earnings at Shaw were off 20% to CAN$535.2 million ($510 million), compared with CAN$671.6 million in 2008, on 2009 revenue up 9% to CAN$3.39 billion ($3.24 billion).

"Our financial and operational results for the quarter and annual period demonstrate our ability to manage effectively in a challenging economic and highly competitive environment," Jim Shaw, chief executive of Shaw, said in a release.

Calgary-based Shaw Communications serves 3.4 million customers, including 2.28 million basic cable customers in western Canada, over 1.6 million Internet service subscriber and around 800,000 digital phone customers.