BCE INC. $33 (Toronto symbol BCE; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Utilities sector; SI Rating: Above average) is Canada’s largest provider of traditional telephone services, with over 12 million customers in Ontario and Quebec. It also provides Internet access (Sympatico), satellite TV (Bell ExpressVu) and wireless services (Bell Mobility).
In the past few months, the company has moved to unlock some of its value. It recently sold most of its interest in Bell Globemedia, the private company that owns The Globe and Mail and CTV Television. BCE also plans to sell a minority stake in satellite operator Telesat to the public.
In July 2006, BCE merged its rural telephone business with 53.2%-owned subsidiary Aliant Inc. into a new income trust called Bell Aliant Regional Communications Income Fund.
BCE now plans to eliminate its holding company structure, and convert its remaining operations into a trust early next year.
Each shareholder will receive one unit of the new Bell Canada Income Fund for each share held. The trust will pay an initial annual cash distribution of $2.55 a unit (7.7% yield), up from BCE’s current $1.32 dividend (4.0% yield). Investors will be liable for capital gains taxes on the conversion.
Thanks to its recent moves, BCE will soon get over half of its revenue from faster-growing businesses such as wireless. That should give it plenty of cash to fund capital spending and distributions. The company also plans to redeem all of its preferred shares, which should also help free up cash.
BCE still aims to cut its annual expenses by $2 billion. In the three months ended June 30, 2006, this plan saved it $172 million. If you exclude restructuring and other one-time items, BCE’s earnings in the latest quarter fell 6.9%, to $0.54 a share (total $482 million) from $0.58 a share ($538 million) a year earlier. (These figures include the assets transferred to Bell Aliant.) Revenue crept up to $4.8 billion from $4.76 billion.
The stock gained 5% on the Bell Canada trust announcement, and now trades at 17.4 times the $1.90 a share its should earn this year.
BCE is a buy.
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We do not collect or disclose personal information, except when it is provided to us voluntarily by the site/store visitor with their consent.
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What personal information do we collect?
The information we receive from customers helps us personalize and continually improve your online experience at TSI Network. TSI Network may collect personal information online for all legal purposes, which include, but are not limited to:
Information You Give Us: We receive and store any information you enter on our website or give us in any other way through sign-up forms or ordering forms for publications and services. You can choose not to provide certain information, but then you might not be able to take advantage of many of our services and features. We use the information that you provide for such purposes as responding to your requests, customizing your web browsing experience for you, improving our website, and communicating with you.
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Information from Other Sources: For reasons such as improving personalization of our service (for example, providing better product recommendations or special offers that we think will interest you), we might receive information about you from other sources and add it to our account information. We also sometimes receive updated delivery and address information from our shippers or other sources so that we can correct our records and deliver your next purchase or communication more easily.
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Does TSI Network Use the Information It Receives?
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Changes to this Policy
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