Montréal, Québec – Quebecor Inc. (“Quebecor” or the “Corporation”) today reported its consolidated financial results for the first quarter of 2021. Quebecor consolidates the financial results of its wholly owned Quebecor Media Inc. (“Quebecor Media”) subsidiary.
First quarter 2021 highlights
Revenues: $1.09 billion, up $35.6 million (3.4%) from the same period of 2020.
Adjusted EBITDA: $452.7 million, up $16.0 million (3.7%).
Adjusted income from continuing operating activities: $129.9 million ($0.52 per basic share), an increase of $18.4 million ($0.08 per basic share) or 16.5%.
Net income attributable to shareholders: $121.3 million ($0.49 per basic share), a decrease of $10.3 million ($0.03 per basic share).
Cash flows from operations: $307.6 million, up $12.6 million (4.3%).
The Telecommunications segment grew its revenues by $39.3 million (4.5%) and its adjusted EBITDA by $15.4 million (3.5%) in the first quarter of 2021.
Videotron Ltd. (“Videotron”) significantly increased its revenues from mobile services and equipment ($23.0 million or 11.1%), Internet access ($19.1 million or 6.9%) and wireline equipment ($18.4 million or 65.0%) in the first quarter of 2021.
There was a net increase of 22,100 revenue-generating units (“RGUs”) (1.5%) in mobile telephony and 10,600 (0.6%) in Internet access.
On April 1, 2021, Videotron announced the acquisition of Cablovision Warwick Inc. (“Cablovision Warwick”) and its network, which has been serving the municipalities of Warwick, Kingsey Falls and Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey in the Centre-du-Québec region for more than four decades. Cablovision Warwick’s customers will therefore have access to Videotron’s network as well as its products and services.
On March 22, 2021, Videotron entered into agreements with the Québec government and Government of Canada jointly aimed at achieving the government’s targets for the roll out of high speed Internet services in various regions of Québec. Under these agreements, Videotron will expand its high-speed Internet network to connect approximately 37,000 more households and the governments have undertaken to provide financial assistance in the amount of approximately $258.0 million, which will be used in its entirety for the extension of Videotron’s network.
On February 10, 2021, the Sports and Entertainment segment announced the acquisition of Les Disques Audiogramme inc., the largest independent French-language record label in North America, which also includes Éditorial Avenue, Canada’s largest French-language music publisher, in order to continue supporting talented Québec artists and promote the dissemination of Québec music.
We’re off to a good start in 2021, despite the challenges created by the public health situation, which continues to impact some of our business segments. Due in large part to Videotron’s solid financial and operational performance, the Corporation increased its EBITDA by 3.7% and its adjusted income from continuing operating activities by 16.5% in the first quarter of 2021. This performance generated a 4.3% growth in our cash flows from operations.
We are proud of our acquisition in the first quarter of 2021 of Cablovision Warwick, a company that has been part of the landscape in the Centre-du-Québec region for more than 40 years, along with its network. This transaction further illustrates our commitment to connecting people in all parts of Québec and providing them with a unique, world-class customer experience. We are also pleased that our network will be expanded by September 30, 2022 to provide high-speed Internet access to approximately 37,000 more households in various remote regions of Québec, under a partnership with the Québec government and in collaboration with the Government of Canada, Pierre Karl Péladeau added.
Offering innovative, effective solutions is at the core of our business model and we continue to successfully roll out our 5G network in Québec, said Jean‑François Pruneau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Videotron.
We also continue winning new mobile customers. During the last 12 months, we added 133,400 subscriber connections, partly because of Fizz’s new mobile device offering. We also saw demand growth for our Internet access service, with 74,000 customers added during the period, as well as for our Helix home entertainment and connected lifestyle platform, which has now reached 826,000 RGUs. We recently announced the arrival of the eagerly awaited Helix Fi 2 smart terminal, available first to Videotron customers. It features the most powerful Wi-Fi on the Québec market, powered by innovative, high-performance technology.
I am proud of the special relationship Videotron has developed with Quebecers over the years. For the 16th year in a row, Videotron ranked as the most respected telecom company in Québec on Léger’s Reputation survey, Jean-François Pruneau concluded.
Although the current crisis continued to impact its operations, TVA Group Inc. (“TVA Group”) was able to increase its revenues by $3.7 million during the quarter, noted Pierre Karl Péladeau, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer of TVA Group.
Its adjusted EBITDA decreased by $6.4 million, essentially because of higher content costs at the TVA Sports specialty channel due to the National Hockey League’s compressed 2020-2021 season.
The advertising market for our broadcasting activities showed encouraging growth compared with the same quarter of 2020, as did the advertising market for our digital platforms, reflecting the growth in our non-traditional advertising revenues. TVA Group’s programs continued to stand out and they remained among the most watched in Québec, with a total consolidated market share of 39.4%, commented Pierre Karl Péladeau.
We were very pleased with the Canadian capital market’s response to Videotron’s issuance of high-yield Senior Notes in the aggregate principal amount of $650.0 million bearing interest at 3.125%, the lowest coupon rate ever reached by an issuer on this market, said Hugues Simard, Chief Financial Officer of Quebecor.
In the wake of this issue, which brings our net available liquidity to $2.6 billion, we are in a strong position heading into the upcoming spectrum auction and our Notes maturities.
I extend my heartfelt thanks to Jean-François Pruneau, who is leaving the Corporation on June 4, 2021, for his many accomplishments at Quebecor over the past 20 years, said Pierre Karl Péladeau.
His strong leadership and keen business acumen have made an important contribution to developing the Corporation’s business plan and building its solidity. I wish him every success in his new challenges.
2021 has started on a strong footing and we continue focusing on our growth drivers in order to consolidate our position as an industry leader, while maintaining prudent management until the full resumption of economic activity. We are bullish about the future and continue working to create long-term value for all our stakeholders. Finally, I would like to pay tribute once again to the exceptional work of all our employees, who are the pillars of our daily success, concluded Pierre Karl Péladeau.
For more details and to consult definitions of "adjusted EBITDA", "adjusted income from continuing operating activities", "cash flows from operations" and "revenue-generating unit" please refer to the attached PDF file for the complete version of the press release.
Chief Financial Officer
Quebecor Inc. et Quebecor Media Inc.
Quebecor Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc.