BCE Inc (BCE) announced that it will be raising its dividends by 5.3% from an annual dividend of $2.47 to $2.60 effective with BCE’s Q1 2015 dividend, payable on April 15, 2015. The record date is close of business day Mar 16, 2015. This is BCE’s 11th increase to its annual common share dividend, representing a 78% increase, in the past 6 years. With this increase, BCE will maintain the dividend payout ratio within its target policy range of 65% to 75% of free cash flow.
From the earnings release statement:
- Net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $542 million, up 9.5%; Adjusted net earnings grow 13% to $610 million; Adjusted EPS of $0.72, up 2.9%
- 10.6% higher Bell Wireless Adjusted EBITDA driven by accelerated revenue growth of 9.6% on 5.5% increase in blended ARPU
- Total BCE wireless postpaid net customer activations in Q4 of 118,120
- Second consecutive quarter of positive Bell Wireline Adjusted EBITDA growth, up 2.0%
- Activated 76,074 net new BCE IPTV customers and 52,010 net new BCE Internet customers as IPTV fibre footprint expanded to more than 6 million customer locations
- Free cash flow grows 23.6% to $833 million; full-year 2014 free cash flow up 6.7%
- Bell Media maintains leading TV audience levels and ratings as TSN and RDS affirm their position as Canada’s top specialty channels
- 2015 outlook builds on positive operating momentum and execution of Strategic Imperatives, supporting dividend increase and significant capital investment
“Financially, we enjoyed a successful 2014, comfortably achieving all our financial guidance targets for the year. Our consistent performance delivery, year after year, shows the strength of the business model Bell has built around our 6 Strategic Imperatives. While the communications industry is marked by intense competition and dynamic change, we have leveraged our business model to produce results consistently at or above expectations,” said Siim Vanaselja, Chief Financial Officer for BCE and Bell Canada. “Going into 2015, BCE’s operating momentum and financial foundation is strong. Our financial targets for this year reflect our expectation for continued strong Wireless segment profitability, positive growth in Wireline segment performance, as well as healthy earnings and free cash flow growth from operations to support our substantial capital investment in strategic network infrastructure and a higher BCE common share dividend for 2015.”
My portfolio consists of 40 shares of BCE, which increases my annual dividends from $98.80 to $104.00, an increase of $5.20.