Rogers Communications Inc.’s investors have a double-dose of news to digest, strong financial results that beat analyst expectations and plans for the current chief executive to retire in about a year, following an orderly transition.
Nadir Mohamed, who succeeded founder Ted Rogers as head of the Toronto-based communications and media company in March 2009 after heading the important wireless division for several years, says he’ll retire in January 2014.
The company says neither Edward Rogers nor his sister Melinda Rogers will seek the position formerly held by their father and they will both be involved in the search process. Mohamed will also be engaged in the selection process.
Shortly after the unexpected late-night announcement, the company released better-than-expected financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012.
Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) said it had a record quarter for smartphone sales, an important driver for revenue in the company’s wireless division.
“Importantly, we achieved or exceeded all of our full year financial guidance metrics and are well positioned for 2013,” Nadir said.
The company said the quarter’s revenue was $3.26 billion and earnings were where was 88 cents — beating estimates of $3.19 billion and 72 cents per share.
Net income was $455 million, up from $350 million a year earlier.
The company also announced an annualized dividend rate increases of 10 per cent to $1.74 per share
Mohamed said Rogers exited 2012 with accelerating growth across its asset mix and with continued improvements in its key metrics.
He said it was a record quarter for smartphone sales in the Wireless business, the cable division did well with strong Internet growth and industry-leading margins and the media business continued to improve and grow.
Last week, Rogers had to remove some “high level” financial information from one of its websites after it was accidentally posted there by an employee.
A Rogers’ spokeswoman has said the financial information, which included annual revenues, was not related to its fourth-quarter financial results.
The information was briefly posted and removed from the website of Rogers Ventures Partners, which invests in technology startups.
Rogers says the information also included the size and the scope of the Toronto telecom company. It included annual revenue in specific divisions of the company “rounded up to hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The company has told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that a $50 cap on extra wireless data charges such as roaming fees would be too disruptive to cut off customers.
Under the CRTC’s draft wireless code, wireless companies would have to suspend some services when a customer reaches either $50 in additional charges over and above what they pay for their monthly plan — though roaming fees, for example —or an amount each consumer would set.