BCE Q4 net profit falls due to writedown, expenses; revenue above estimates

BCE awaits Ottawa’s Huawei decision, sees no spending spike if Chinese company barred

BCE raising dividend, 'quite comfortable' amid Huawei scrutiny

BCE chief executive George Cope addressed concerns around the Chinese network vendor during a conference call with analysts on February 7, saying the company is awaiting the results of a federal government cybersecurity review on the use of Huawei equipment.

Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on December 1, after a USA request.

It also comes as Huawei faces heightened scrutiny around the world.

The comments Thursday are the most wide-ranging from BCE since a feud erupted between China and Canada, with Huawei at the center.

"Any 5G ban would likely be most problematic for just Bell and Telus, but with spending requirements that would not likely stick to valuations", Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce telecom analysts said in a blog post this week.

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This would have the biggest impact on Bell and Telus, both of which are planning to use Huawei for future networks and extensively use it in existing networks, Shine wrote.

"BELL's broadband leadership strategy continues to deliver unparalleled network performance and service innovation to our customers and ongoing value enhancement to our shareholders - including the latest increase to the BCE common share dividend announced today", said Pres./CEO GEORGE COPE.

The company's closely-watched wireless division added 121,780 net new subscribers in the fourth quarter.

However, BCE chief financial officer Glen LeBlanc told analysts the wireless segment performed well in terms of subscriber profitability and cash generation.

Canadian telecom services provider BCE Inc beat analysts' profit estimates for the fourth quarter on Thursday, as it benefited from growth in its wireless segment, which includes its high-speed internet services.

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Wireless revenue rose 4.6 percent to C$2.25 billion, the company said. On an adjusted basis, BCE earned 89 cents per share, up 8.5 per cent from a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected $6.17 billion of revenue and 86 cents per share of adjusted earnings, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Those expenses included a $190-million non-cash asset impairment charge related mainly to Bell Media's French-language specialty TV properties, which have experienced a declining subscriber base.

The company announced a 5-per-cent increase in its annual dividend to $3.17 per common share, consistent with a long-standing dividend-growth policy.

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