Canada has its own version of the Big 3: Rogers Communications
Currently, my favorite of the three is Rogers Communications. The company only holds a slight lead, but it looks as though that margin will only widen over time. And with the Canadian government's surprise announcement yesterday that they would indeed begin taxing income trusts -- effectively thwarting BCE's and Telus' trust conversion plans -- Rogers' shares will probably outperform the others' as well.
This growth is all good
Last Tuesday, Rogers Communications said that third-quarter earnings tripled to $154 million, versus $48.9 million for the previous year, while top-line growth increased by 15%. Of even greater significance was the more than $200 million worth of free cash flow that the company generated for the quarter -- twice the amount from the same period last year.
In the past, Rogers has grown primarily through acquisitions. As many Fools know, growth through serial purchasing is hardly anything to get excited about. However, this quarter's growth rates are especially noteworthy, since they were driven in a manner that would satisfy even the most hardcore of vegans: completely organic. In addition to higher retention rates and greater customer spending, the dramatic improvement was fueled mainly through an expanded subscription base. For the quarter, Rogers added more than 200,000 wireless subscribers and 114,000 television customers (divided fairly evenly between basic and digital cable).
Bundles of joy
At about a 50% penetration rate, the Canadian wireless market is one of the most untapped among developed countries. By comparison, the United States already has about a 70% penetration rate. In other words, there is substantial room for growth within this space in the years ahead. Rogers currently owns 40% of this market share, with BCE and Telus owning about 30% each.
Rogers is in the most ideal position to capitalize on the market potential and extend its already existing lead. As Canada's largest cable operator as well, Rogers offers a unique (and coveted) bundle of paid cable television, high-speed Internet, fixed-line, and wireless phone services. This quadruple play allows the company to effectively leverage its resources in order to retain customers, create brand loyalty, and improve overall returns.
At first glance, Rogers' shares might seem to have an excessive amount of optimism baked into their price. However, given Rogers' growth prospects and position within Canada's potent wireless market, this stock might actually be a bargain just waiting to be communicated.
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