BCE Inc - President and CEO, Mirko Bibic
President and CEO, Mirko Bibic
Source: La Presse
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  • BCE (TSX:BCE) has maintained a steady performance for the first quarter of 2020, despite several virus-related impacts to its business
  • Total revenue dropped a marginal 0.9 per cent, from C$5.73 billion in the first quarter of 2019 to $5.68 billion
  • Net earnings also fell 7.3 per cent from $791 million to $733 million
  • These decreases were largely as a result of declining commercial activity, but tempered by an increase in internet data usage as more people moved to work from home
  • The company also announced dividends for the quarter of 83.25 cents, payable on July 15, 2020
  • BCE (BCE) is currently down 0.07 per cent to $56.89 per share, with a market cap of $51.34 billion

BCE (TSX:BCE) has maintained a steady performance for the first quarter of 2020, despite several virus-related impacts to its business.

The communications giant, formerly Bell Canada Enterprises, reported a marginal 0.9 per cent drop in revenue, from C$5.73 billion in the first quarter of 2019 to $5.68 billion this year.

Net earnings also fell by 7.3 per cent, from $791 million to $733 million.

BCE joins many other companies around the world that have felt the negative impact of COVID-19. 

However, the company says its performance for the quarter was supported by ongoing broadband wireless, internet and IPTV subscriber base expansion, as well as a 2.6 per cent reduction in total operating costs.

In order to maintain a relatively normal level of operational activity, BCE accelerated its investments in network capacity, reliability and redundancy to manage the increases in network usage due to remote work and self-isolation measures.

This growth in demand includes internet data increases of up to 60 per cent during the day and 20 per cent at night. The company also saw a 40 per cent increase in wireless home internet usage, a 25 per cent increase in live TV viewing, and a 250 per cent increase in conference calling.

Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE, said the company is focused on keeping Canadians connected and informed, prioritising safety, and supporting its customers and communities.

“As the primary builder of Canada’s communications infrastructure since 1880, Bell will continue to lead the way in network investment and innovation as our country recovers from the crisis.

“While the crisis significantly impacted retail activity, media advertising revenue and many other parts of our business in Q1, our solid results underscore Bell’s ongoing leadership in network and service innovation, and consistently strong execution by the Bell team,” he added.

With the duration and overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still unknown, BCE elected to withdraw its previously announced guidance for the year.

That said, the company has a strong liquidity position, underpinned by a healthy balance sheet and substantial free cash flow. As such, it plans to continue its capital expenditure plan and issue quarterly dividends of 83.25 cents per share, payable on July 15.

BCE (BCE) is currently down 0.07 per cent to $56.89 per share at 12:34pm EDT.

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