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MTS increases its Q1 profit by almost 36% but revenues down slightly

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WINNIPEG - Manitoba Telecom Services (TSX:MBT) reports higher first-quarter net earnings of $41.9 million, or 54 cents per share, up 35.6 per cent year-over-year.

The regional telecom company earned $30.9 million, or 46 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2013.

It had lower revenues of $401.5 million, down 1.3 per cent, versus $406.7 million year-over-year. The company said the lower revenues were mostly due to such factors as declines in older technology services at its business unit Allstream and lower wireless voice revenues.

Analysts had expected revenue of $406.2 million, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts had also expected net earnings per share of 37 cents.

The company's MTS division, which includes its wireless, Internet and television services, had operating revenues of $248.5 million, up 2.1 per cent from $243.5 million year-over-year.

Total wireless revenues were $90.4 million compared with $91.5 million, down 1.2 per cent year-over-year.

Internet revenues were $30.6 million, up $2.8 million from the same quarter last year.

Revenues from the company's Internet protocol TV services were $21.1 million, up $1.2 million over the first quarter of 2013.

The company's business unit, Allstream, had total operating revenues $161.9 million compared with $171.7 million, down 5.7 per cent year-over-year. It provides services such as Internet and telephone to businesses.

MTS wasn't able to line up another buyer for Allstream after Ottawa blocked a $520-million deal to sell it last year.

Federal Industry Minister James Moore, acting under national security provisions of the Investment Canada Act, rejected the proposal to sell Allstream to Egyptian investment group Accelero Capital.

"We are regaining momentum at Allstream, where IP revenue grew 4.3 per cent during the quarter," CEO Pierre Blouin said in a news release on Tuesday.

"At MTS, we exceeded 100,000 bundled customers. This is a major milestone that reflects one of our key strategic advantages and which contributed to our strong broadband results."

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