July 17th, 2018

Cogeco cable company considering steps towards wireless business: CEO

By David Paddon, The Canadian Press on July 12, 2018.

Cogeco Communications Inc. newly announced president and CEO Philippe Jette responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday, May 15, 2018 in Montreal. The home internet and television company says it's considering a move into the wireless business, if conditions are right. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The CEO of Cogeco Communications says it’s cautiously considering a move into the wireless business within its own cable and internet territories in parts of Ontario and Quebec.

Cogeco chief executive Louis Audet says the Montreal-based company has avoided investments in wireless because of the high cost and risk of failure for new entrants.

But Audet says the regulatory environment now seems more favourable for new competitors because the government has been echoing public frustration with Canada’s relatively high wireless prices.

He adds that Cogeco also has a new technology bargaining chip because it has an extensive fibre network that it could use to bring faster, more sophisticated fifth-generation wireless services to its territory.

Cogeco’s Canadian landline network serves southern parts of Ontario and Quebec, in competition with Bell Canada in both provinces and in competition with Telus in parts of Quebec.

Audet made his remarks during a conference call to discuss third-quarter results from Cogeco Communications and its parent Cogeco Inc., which are both publicly traded companies controlled by the Audet family.

Cogeco Inc., which gets most of its revenue from Cogeco Communications but also owns a Quebec-focused media business, reported just under $25 million or $1.53 per share of net income attributable to shareholders in its most recent quarter.

That was down 16.9 per cent from $30 million or $1.81 per share in the year-earlier fiscal third quarter.

Cogeco Communications Inc., which also operates a cable and internet business in the United States through Atlantic Broadband and the Peer 1 data centre business in several countries, had $61.3 million or $1.24 per share of net income.

That was down about 20 per cent from the year-earlier quarter.

Cogeco Inc.’s overall revenue was up 11.6 per cent from last year at $668.9 million, including $637. 1 million from its main subsidiary.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CCA, TSX:CGO, TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:T)

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