Telus delays usual dividend increase amid COVID-19 but sees growth opportunities

Telus delays usual dividend increase amid COVID-19 but sees growth opportunities

VANCOUVER — Telus Corp. won’t be raising its dividend until at least November because of the uncertain outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic, chief executive Darren Entwistle told the company’s virtual annual meeting Thursday.

His comments came after Telus announced a 19 per cent decline in first-quarter net income, which fell to $353 million, despite higher revenue compared with last year.

Entwistle, who has been CEO of Telus for most of the past 20 years, said the decision to defer the usual semi-annual increase to shareholder payments reflects the sensitivity to the impact that Telus employees and customers are feeling from the pandemic and economic downturn.

“This decision also reflects our commitment to effectively (manage) our resources to help our country and help out our fellow citizens in need as we work collectively to move past these uncertain times and into a period of economic recovery,” Entwistle said in a speech to shareholders.

The company plans to continue investing in its communications infrastructure but also achieve positive cash flow in line with its original 2020 guidance.

He added that the company hopes to provide revised guidance about its 2020 financial prospects after a board meeting in late July.

Earlier Thursday, Telus said it would maintain its quarterly dividend at 29.125 cents per share.

Telus reported its first-quarter profit fell as investments in its networks and an increase in acquisition-related accounting expenses more than offset growth in earnings from its core communications business.

Operating revenue rose by 5.4 per cent to $3.69 billion from nearly $3.51 billion.

But net income, equal to 28 cents per share, was down from $437 million or 36 cents per share in last year’s first quarter.

Adjusted earnings for the quarter fell to 32 cents per share from 38 cents per share a year ago.

Analysts had estimated Telus would have 35 cents per share of adjusted earnings with nearly $3.68 billion of revenue, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The Vancouver-based company provides internet, phone and landline video services in hard-hit Alberta, and other parts of the country. It operates one of Canada’s three national wireless networks with brands Telus, Koodo and Public Mobile.

Unlike its main wireless competitors Bell and Rogers, Telus doesn’t have a media business but it does provide technology and services to medical professionals and consumers through Telus Health and business support services through Telus International.

— by David Paddon in Toronto

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:T)

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta reports just seven new COVID-19 cases

‘Today’s numbers mark an occasion to be celebrated’

Broncs to hold virtual camp, free of charge

Broncs Virtual Camp for grades 6 to 11 will begin June 9

Still no confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer, central zone

There are 15 new confirmed cases were in Alberta, the province said Thursday

UPDATE: Poster contest extended

Kids have one more week to get their entries in

Part II: Calkins says Canada can’t sustain long-term shutdown

Reopening Alberta now is a ‘difficult balancing question’

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta

Community organizers come on the show to discuss central Albertan anti-racist movement

Feds sign $105-million deal with Bombardier for two new Challenger jets

Department of National Defence announced the deal with Bombardier on Saturday

‘Alarmed:’ Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Public Health Agency of Canada does not collect information on long-haul truckers

Montreal man believes rough arrest caught on video was racially motivated

Montreal man believes rough arrest caught on video was racially motivated

N.B. police shooting of Indigenous woman leads to questions on ‘wellness checks’

N.B. police shooting of Indigenous woman leads to questions on ‘wellness checks’

Minister says reckoning on police violence against Indigenous people needed

Minister says reckoning on police violence against Indigenous people needed

Nunavut to bring in civilian police review after arrest video: minister

Nunavut to bring in civilian police review after arrest video: minister

Trudeau takes a knee at anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill

Trudeau takes a knee at anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara faces assault, break and enter, harassment charges

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara faces assault, break and enter, harassment charges

Most Read