Wireless growth will fuel dividend increases

Article Excerpt

BCE INC. $53 (Toronto symbol BCE; Income-Growth Portfolio, Utilities sector; Shares outstanding: 898.0 million; Market cap: $47.6 billion; Dividend yield: 5.7%; Dividend Sustainability Rating: Highest; www.bce.ca) is Canada’s largest traditional telephone service provider: it has 3.1 million residential customers in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces. It also has 3.9 million high-speed Internet users and 2.8 million TV subscribers. In addition, BCE sells wireless services to 9.3 million users across Canada and owns TV and radio stations. The company last raised its quarterly dividend by 5.2% starting with the April 2018 payment. BCE investors receive $0.755 a share instead of $0.7175. The new annual rate of $3.02 yields a high 5.7%. The company has now increased its dividend 14 times since the 2018 fourth quarter. BCE also continues to benefit from big investments in its wireless networks. In the second quarter of 2018, it signed 122,092 wireless customers to long-term contracts (net of cancellations). That’s a gain of 37.8% over the 88,611 new users…

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