Network upgrades starting to pay off

Article Excerpt

BELL ALIANT INC. $27 (Toronto symbol BA, Conservative Growth Portfolio, Utilities sector; Shares outstanding: 229.1 million; Market cap: $6.2 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 2.2; Dividend yield: 7.0%; TSINetwork Rating: Average; www.bellaliant.ca) sells telephone and Internet services to 2.4 million customers in Atlantic Canada and rural parts of Ontario and Quebec. It also sells wireless services through an alliance with BCE (see left). The company continues to replace its copper-wire cables with fibre optic lines. That’s letting it sell more high-speed Internet and digital TV services, which is offsetting falling demand for land lines. (Traditional phones still supply 52% of its overall revenue.) In the three months ended June 30, 2013, Bell Aliant’s revenue rose 0.6%, to $691.8 million from $687.7 million a year ago. Earnings fell 10.8%, to $0.66 a share from $0.74. If you exclude a charge related to an early debt repayment and other unusual items, per-share earnings would have fallen 4.9%, to $0.39 from $0.41. Bell Aliant is…

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