Telus reports flat adjusted revenue and mobile ads

Telus Corp. TT reported flat adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter as modest revenue growth was offset by higher operating expenses.

The Vancouver-based telecommunications company reported total revenue of $5.05 billion for the quarter, up 3.8 percent year-on-year. Telus said the increase was due to growth in its technology division, including the healthcare and consumer services segments.

On a net income basis, Telus reported earnings fell 60 percent to $265 million, or 17 cents a share, reflecting a pre-tax gain of $410 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 from the sale of its financial services business to legal software provider Dye & Durham. On an adjusted basis, the company reported net income of $333 million, or 23 cents a share, compared to $331 million, or 23 cents a year ago.

For 2022, Telus reported earnings of $1.7 billion, up about 1 percent from 2021, and operating and other income grew 6.7 percent to $18.4 billion compared to $17.3 billion last year.

In September 2022, Telus bought LifeWorks, a US-based health technology and human resources company, for $2.2 billion as part of its expansion into digital customer service. During the year, revenue from healthcare-related businesses grew 75 percent. Telus President and Chief Executive Officer Darren Entwistle said in a press release that in 2023 the company will have an “intense focus on integrating and scaling” its global healthcare operations.

The company added 301,000 net customers across mobile and fixed-line services — including internet, security and television connections — last quarter, up from 272,000 a year ago. Mr. Entwistle said this was the company’s best fourth quarter in customer acquisition history.

Mobile network revenue increased by 6.5 percent year-on-year. Zainul Mawji, president of Telus Consumer Solutions, told The Globe it was the result of increased roaming charges from more international travel and customers switching to more expensive plans.

However, the company’s mobile subscriber growth remained flat. In the fourth quarter, Telus added 112,000 net mobile phone users, the same amount as a year ago. Telus attributed this lack of net growth to increased competition during promotional periods and higher retail foot traffic. Competitors Rogers Communications Inc. and BCE Inc. also flagged increased competition in their own fourth-quarter reports last week.

Ms Mawji said the company is focused on attracting customers to its premium plans. “We’re not going to chase advertising intensity,” she said.

The company said it aims to increase operating income by 11 to 14 percent in 2023.

Subsidiary Telus International also reported fourth-quarter and full-year results on February 9. For the year, the company reported a 5 percent increase in sales and a 53 percent increase in profit compared to 2021.

Telus shares closed down nearly 3.8 percent on Thursday at $27.03.