Copyright 2005 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.

The Toronto Star

July 8, 2005 Friday

From Lexis Nexis

Shaw Communications Inc. has reported a stronger third-quarter profit as revenues at Canada's Number 2 cable and satellite television provider rose by 5.2 percent.

The Calgary-based company said net income rose to $43.3 million, or 16 cents a share, in the quarter ended May 31, from $24.8 million, or 6 cents per share, in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Shaw said service revenue in the quarter rose to $559.9 million from $532 million. Analysts had expected a profit of 12 cents a share before exceptional items, on revenues of $559.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

"The margins were better than expected, the capex (capital expenditures) was less. The telephony numbers were marginally better than expected, but it's early days," said Dvai Ghose, an analyst with CIBC World Markets Inc.

"The biggest negative was that the preliminary guidance for 2006 capex was a lot higher than expected."

Chief executive Jim Shaw said in a statement the company was on track to meet its 2005 free cash flow forecast of between $270 million and $285 million. Free cash is the money a company generates from operations after deducting cash requirements and capital spending.

But the company said that next year it expects capital and equipment spending of between $535 million and $545 million.

Shaw raised its annual dividend rate on class B non-voting shares by 1 cent to 41 cents.