Montréal, Québec – Quebecor Inc. (“Quebecor” or the “Corporation”) today reported its fourth quarter and full year 2015 consolidated financial results.Quebecor consolidates the financial results of its Quebecor Media Inc. (“Quebecor Media”) subsidiary, in which it holds an 81.1% interest.
2015 financial year
- Revenues: $3.88 billion, up $271.8 million (7.5%) from 2014.
- Adjusted operating income: $1.44 billion, up $30.9 million (2.2%).
- Net income attributable to shareholders: $151.8 million ($1.24 per basic share) in 2015, compared with a net loss attributable to shareholders of $30.1 million ($0.24 per basic share) in the same period of 2014. The favourable variance of $181.9 million ($1.48 per basic share) was due in part to the $102.1 million favourable non‑cash impact of fluctuations in the fair value of convertible debentures and the $45.3 million favourable impact of the decreased loss related to discontinued operations.
- Adjusted income from continuing operations: $239.9 million ($1.95 per basic share) in 2015, compared with $209.7 million ($1.70 per basic share) in 2014, an increase of $30.2 million ($0.25 per basic share) or 14.4%.
- In 2015, the Telecommunications segment grew its revenues by $169.7 million (6.0%) to break through the $3.00 billion mark. Its adjusted operating income increased by $32.6 million (2.4%) despite a $21.1 million unfavourable variance in one‑time items.
- Videotron Ltd. (“Videotron”) posted revenue increases of $116.0 million (40.3%) from mobile telephony, $64.6 million (7.5%) from Internet access services, and $11.4 million (93.4%) from the Club illico over-the-top video service.
- Videotron’s average monthly revenue per user (“ARPU”) increased by $10.52 (8.4%) from $125.16 in 2014 to $135.68 in 2015, including a $5.03 (11.7%) increase in revenues per user from the mobile telephony service.
- Net increase of 168,200 revenue-generating units (3.1%) in 2015, including increases of 135,800 subscriber connections to the mobile telephone service, the largest 12-month increase since 2011, 79,800 customers for the over‑the‑top video service, and 30,700 customers for the cable Internet access service.
- The Media segment grew its revenues by $112.8 million (13.2%) and its adjusted operating income by $11.8 million (20.2%) in 2015, partly as a result of the inclusion of the contribution of A.R. Global Vision Ltd. – now operated by Mels Studios and Postproduction G.P. (“MELS”) – substantially all the assets of which were acquired in December 2014.
- On January 7, 2016, Videotron announced the acquisition of Fibrenoire inc. (“Fibrenoire”), a company that provides businesses with fibre‑optic connectivity services, for a cash consideration of $125.0 million, subject to certain adjustments.
- On October 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected an application from Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of Bell Canada, for leave to appeal a Québec Court of Appeal judgment ordering it to pay compensation to Videotron and TVA Group Inc. (“TVA Group”). Accordingly, a $139.1 million non‑adjusted-operating‑income gain on litigation was recognized in the third quarter of 2015.
- On September 9, 2015, Quebecor Media repurchased a portion of the interest held by CDP Capital d’Amérique Investissements inc. (“CDP Capital”) for $500.0 million, increasing the Corporation’s interest in Quebecor Media from 75.4% to 81.1%.
- On March 11, 2015, Videotron announced the acquisition of 4Degrees Colocation Inc. (“4Degrees Colocation”) and its data centre, the largest in Québec City, for a cash consideration of $35.5 million.During 2015, Videotron announced capital expenditures totalling $75.0 million, spread over several years, to expand its data centre in Québec City and build a new centre in Montréal.
- In 2015, Videotron acquired eighteen 2500 MHz spectrum licences covering all of Québec and all of Canada’s major urban centres for a total of $187.0 million, and four AWS-3 licences covering eastern, southern and northern Québec and eastern Ontario/Outaouais for a total of $31.8 million.
- In the first quarter of 2015, the Corporation increased the quarterly dividend on its Class A Multiple Voting Shares (“Class A Shares”) and Class B Subordinate Voting Shares (“Class B Shares”) by 40%, from $0.025 to $0.035 per share.
Fourth quarter 2015
- Revenues: $1.02 billion, up $67.1 million (7.0%).
- Adjusted operating income: $360.8 million, up $7.7 million (2.2%).
- Net loss attributable to shareholders: $34.8 million ($0.28 per basic share) in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with $59.5 million ($0.48 per basic share) in the same period of 2014, a favourable variance of $24.7 million ($0.20 per basic share).
- Adjusted income from continuing operations: $58.0 million ($0.47 per basic share) in Q4 2015, compared with $50.6 million ($0.41 per basic share) in the same period of 2014, up $7.4 million ($0.06 per basic share).
- Net increases of 26,100 subscriber connections (3.5%) to the mobile telephone service and 29,000 subscriptions (12.7%) to the over‑the‑top video service in Q4 2015.
- ARPU: $140.19 in Q4 2015, compared with $129.36 in the same period of 2014, a $10.83 (8.4%) increase.
All our segments posted revenue increases in 2015,” observed Pierre Dion, President and CEO of Quebecor. “The solid performance reflects the effectiveness of our investment and business development strategy in each of our lines of business. The success of Videotron’s service offerings, particularly mobile telephony, Internet access, business solutions and the over-the-top video service, combined with increased revenue diversification in the Media segment, are responsible for our excellent results. It should also be noted that adjusted income from continuing operations was up $30.2 million or 14.4% in 2015.
“During the year, Quebecor took new steps under its plan to refocus its business on its main growth drivers. That plan also calls for diversification of revenue streams through investment in businesses with strong development potential. As well, the Corporation’s disinvestment strategy in its Media and Retail Sales segments is consistent with the consolidation trend that we are seeing in those industries. In 2015, the Corporation completed the sale of its English-language newspaper businesses in Canada and discontinued the SUN News specialty channel. We also closed the sale of the retail stores of Archambault Group Inc. (“Archambault Group”) to another Québec company, Groupe Renaud-Bray inc. (“Renaud‑Bray”). The acquisition of substantially all of the assets of MELS, completed in late 2014, made a significant contribution, generating adjusted operating income in the amount of $14.1 million and establishing our presence in Québec’s film production and audiovisual services industry.”
“Once again, Videotron’s growth was driven by the gains at our mobile telephone service, which now serves 768,600 customers, and our Internet access service,” commented Manon Brouillette, President and CEO of Videotron. “The Club illico over‑the‑top video service passed the quarter-million subscriber mark, thanks to its wide selection of content and the original series available exclusively to Club illico subscribers, including Blue Moon and Karl & Max. Incidentally, Blue Moon, released on January 25, 2016, smashed Club illico’s viewing records by racking up a million viewings in less than a month.
“The number of subscriber connections to our mobile telephony service surged by 135,800 (21.5%), the highest rate of growth in Canada in 2015 and the largest annual increase for the service since 2011. Total ARPU for all of Videotron’s services was $135.68, up $10.52 (8.4%) including an increase of $5.03 (11.7%) for mobile telephony. Videotron also continued building out its LTE network, which the independent British firm OpenSignal has rated ‘the fastest in Canada.’ I should also note that the spectrum we acquired in 2015 will secure the future of our mobile service offerings in Québec and in the Ottawa area.
“Throughout 2015, Videotron continued breaking new ground. Among other things, we launched the illico 4K Ultra‑HD PVR, the first ultra‑high‑definition set‑top box offered on a commercial basis in Canada, and introduced the Unlimited Music service, which lets users stream music on the most popular platforms with no data cap. Finally, in the growing business solutions segment, revenues were up 12.1% in 2015. Our strategic acquisitions, including 4Degrees Colocation in Québec City and Fibrenoire in Montréal, position us to meet businesses’ expanding cloud computing and connectivity needs, two complementary and fast‑growing market segments.”
“The Media segment grew its revenues by $112.8 million (13.2%) and its adjusted operating income by $11.8 million (20.2%),” noted Julie Tremblay, President and CEO of Media Group. “The higher numbers were due in large part to the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of MELS, combined with the impact of certain new products resulting from our investment strategy, including TVA Sports. Our cost‑reduction and control program also contributed to the segment's profitability.”
In the Sports and Entertainment segment, the Videotron Centre, a Québec City icon with which Videotron is proud to associate its name and its brands, officially opened in September 2015 and has already welcomed nearly 800,000 visitors to the numerous successful sporting events and shows it has hosted. The segment formed key partnerships in 2015 with a number of entertainment and showbiz industry leaders, including AEG Facilities, Live Nation Entertainment, and the Ticketmaster ticketing service, which operates in Québec under the name Réseau Admission. In December 2015, Event Management Gestev Inc. acquired a majority interest in Marathon de Québec inc. and as such will produce six major events in the Québec City area, strengthening its role as a producer and promoter of sporting events.
With respect to financial operations, in 2015 Quebecor Media repurchased a portion of CDP Capital’s interest in its capital stock for an aggregate purchase price of $500.0 million. As a result, Quebecor’s interest in Quebecor Media increased from 75.4% to 81.1%. “This transaction was financed in accordance with our objective of maintaining sound balance sheet management,” said Jean‑François Pruneau, Chief Financial Officer of Quebecor. “We are thus pursuing our long-term goal of making Quebecor the sole shareholder in Quebecor Media.” As well, Videotron completed the redemption of some of its Senior Notes, generating more than $20.0 million in annual savings in interest on debt.” Finally, in the first quarter of 2015, the Board of Directors of Quebecor approved a 40% increase in the quarterly dividend on Class A Shares and Class B Shares, reflecting confidence on the part of the Board and the management team in the Corporation’s solid financial position.
“Quebecor therefore posted solid consolidated financial results in 2015 and continued its strategy of refocusing its business on its main growth drivers. The Corporation remains strongly positioned to achieve its profitability, business development, and shareholder value maximization objectives in the years to come,” concluded Pierre Dion.
1 - The sum of subscriptions to the cable television, cable Internet access and over-the-top video services, plus subscriber connections to the cable and mobile telephony services.
For more details and to consult definitions of "adjusted operating income", "adjusted income from continuing operations" and "average monthly revenue per user", please refer to the attached PDF file for the complete version of the press release.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Quebecor Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc.
Vice President, Public Affairs
Quebecor Media Inc.