Montréal, Québec – Quebecor Inc. (“Quebecor” or the “Corporation”) today reported its consolidated financial results for the third quarter of 2021. Quebecor consolidates the financial results of its wholly owned Quebecor Media Inc. (“Quebecor Media”) subsidiary.
Third quarter 2021 highlights
Revenues: $1.15 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up $36.5 million (3.3%) from the same period of 2020.
Adjusted EBITDA: $520.3 million, up $6.9 million (1.3%) despite the $18.8 million unfavourable impact of the recognition of a one‑time item in the Telecommunications segment in the third quarter of 2020.
Net income attributable to shareholders: $173.1 million ($0.71 per basic share), an increase of $32.2 million ($0.15 per basic share).
Adjusted income from continuing operating activities: $176.1 million ($0.73 per basic share), an increase of $3.0 million ($0.04 per basic share).
Cash flows from operations: $365.8 million, a $19.7 million (5.7%) increase.
The Telecommunications segment’s revenues grew by $1.6 million (0.2%) in the third quarter of 2021 and its adjusted EBITDA decreased by $6.8 million (‑1.4%), reflecting the $18.8 million unfavourable impact of the recognition of a one-time item in the third quarter of 2020.
Videotron Ltd. (“Videotron”) significantly increased its revenues from Internet access services ($15.9 million or 5.6%) and mobile telephony ($13.4 million or 8.0%) in the third quarter of 2021.
There was a net increase of 25,600 revenue-generating units (“RGUs”) (0.4%) in the third quarter of 2021, including 40,900 connections (2.7%) to the mobile telephony service and 22,500 subscriptions (1.2%) to Internet access services.
Quebecor announced, on July 29, 2021, an investment by Videotron of nearly $830.0 million in the acquisition of 294 blocks of spectrum in the 3500 MHz band across the country, including 175 blocks in four Canadian provinces outside Québec: Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.
On August 17, 2021, Videotron launched Vrai, a new Québec subscription platform that will meet the strong demand for unscripted lifestyle, documentary and entertainment content. Vrai offers thousands of hours of all-French, on‑demand content, including more than 40 first-run exclusive original Québec productions.
Quebecor unveiled the new QUB digital platform, on September 15, 2021, which brings together all of its news and entertainment content in one place. Available on the Internet and via a mobile app, QUB is differentiated by its vast quantity of multisource, multiformat content, including text, music, video and audio, available live or on demand in a single, easy‑to navigate environment that promotes content discoverability.
TVA Group Inc. (“TVA Group”) announced, on July 16, 2021, that the studios of Canadian film and television industry leader MELS will be enlarged with the construction of MELS 4, with the support of the Government of Québec and the City of Montréal. The project will strengthen MELS’ position on the market for foreign blockbusters and series.
Videotron and TVA Sports announced, on September 9, 2021, a partnership with the Lions de Trois‑Rivières, the new ECHL hockey team. The new Trois-Rivières arena will be named the “Colisée Vidéotron” and TVA Sports will be the exclusive official broadcaster of the Lions de Trois‑Rivières’ home games as they begin their first season.
Event Management Gestev Inc., a subsidiary of the Sports and Entertainment Group, announced, on October 6, 2021, that it will be the new manager of the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal. It will operate the acoustically outstanding multipurpose venue and present unique programming to its thousands of visitors.
With the economy recovering in many of our lines of business, we generated strong results in the third quarter of 2021, from both the financial and operational standpoints. Our steady performance is reflected in increases of 3.3% in revenues, 1.3% in adjusted EBITDA and 5.7% in cash flow from operations, despite the unfavourable impact of a one-time item.
Videotron and Fizz continue to stand out with their ability to reach new customers and to enhance the richness of their offerings. Together, they achieved an unprecedented 37% market share of new subscriber connections to mobile services in the third quarter of 2021, ranking them first and second respectively in Québec. Over the past 12 months, our mobile telephony and Internet access services have posted sustained growth, with increases in RGUs of 118,700 (8.2%) and 62,900 (3.6%) respectively.
The appeal of our Helix platform continues to growth steadily month after month, as evidenced by an increase of over 145,000 RGUs in the third quarter of 2021, pushing the total number since the service launched in September 2019 past the 1 million mark. We also continue promoting high-quality, diverse content through our Club illico and Vrai subscription services, and we are pleased that more and more Quebecers are taking advantage of them, as evidenced by the 3.2% increase in the subscriber base over the past 12 months. Club illico is promising an outstanding 2021-2022 program line-up, with the largest number of original series and films released in a single year since the service was launched, Pierre Karl Péladeau continued.
Furthermore, our digital ambitions continue to propel our successes and drive forward-looking projects. As a leading player in our industry, we are very proud to be supporting the acceleration of Québec’s digital transformation, notably through a partnership with the Québec‑based tech firm Groupe X-Telia inc., which offers an expansive range of Internet of Things solutions to meet the needs of Québec municipalities and businesses. Videotron also recently landed a major contract with the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) for IoT services, strengthening its leadership position in Québec.
The 3,500 MHz spectrum auction was also completed this quarter. Our announced investment of nearly $830.0 million to acquire 5G spectrum for Videotron attests to our determination to become Canada’s fourth mobile carrier in order to create real competition, foster innovation and deliver better prices for Canadians. The spectrum acquisition will, among other things, enable us to take advantage of CRTC Decision 2021-130, which requires the incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers to allow new carriers MVNO access to their networks. That was precisely how Videotron launched its wireless telephony service in 2006. When the current regulatory proceeding on technical arrangements and rates is completed, Videotron will therefore be able to launch its wireless service in the areas where it has acquired spectrum, namely Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. All the carriers that acquired spectrum can launch an MVNO service and must roll out a network within 7 years, said Pierre Karl Péladeau.
TVA Group continues to benefit from the business recovery in most of its segments, as indicated by the 26.1% and 52.0% increases in revenues and adjusted EBITDA respectively in the third quarter of 2021. The results were driven in particular by film production and audiovisual services, which were in high demand during the quarter, and by advertising revenues at the TVA Network and the specialty channels, which increased for the third consecutive quarter compared with the same period of the previous year. TVA Group's total market share was 38.2% in the third quarter of 2021 and our programs were among the most watched in Québec, said Pierre Karl Péladeau.
Innovation has always been one of Quebecor’s major competitive advantages and our recently unveiled QUB digital platform is a prime example. Quebecor is proud to promote local content and anticipate the needs of consumers and the market by bringing all the content from our powerful ecosystem of media outlets, platforms and brands, including TVA+, QUB music, QUB radio, Vrai, Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec, together on a single platform, commented Pierre Karl Péladeau.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to France Lauzière, who recently announced her resignation as President and Chief Executive Officer of TVA Group and Chief Content Officer of Quebecor Content, for her significant contribution to the Corporation over the past 20 years. At every stage of her career, she always impressed me with her commitment to the company’s success. France played a key role in strengthening Group TVA’s dominant position as Québec’s television leader. She paved the way for some major innovations in content creation, content acquisition and multiplatform distribution that have been very important for showcasing Québec culture and have given our artists and crews a chance to shine, said Pierre Karl Péladeau.
The continuing reopening of the economy is enabling us to stay on track toward our growth and profitability targets. In addition, our strong financial performance positions us very advantageously to capitalize on our many operational and technological advances and on our potential for cross-Canada expansion, Pierre Karl Péladeau concluded.
For more details and to consult definitions of "adjusted EBITDA", "adjusted income from continuing 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. and Quebecor Media Inc.
Quebecor Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc.