A woman is silhouetted as the Telus Corp. logo is displayed during a company event in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday October 2, 2015. Telus Corp. reported its first-quarter profit increased compared with a year ago as its revenue climbed more than six per cent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Telus reports higher profits as it touts diversified business model

Telus reports higher profits as it touts diversified business model

Telus Corp.’s president and chief executive says the company has managed to weather recent economic challenges and even report a profit increase in its most recent quarter because its mix of products spans the internet, data, agriculture and health industries.

“That level of diversification gives us a better backbone of resiliency, whether it’s inflation or supply chain pressures that we’re dealing up simultaneously,” said Darren Entwistle, on a Friday call with analysts.

He said the company’s proactive response to challenges, and its investments in technology, have helped it navigate numerous external pressures in the past couple of decades.

“Whether it’s equity market meltdowns or credit crunches or regulatory decisions or inflationary periods, we seem to navigate that turbulence very well.”

Entwistle’s remarks came as public health measures are being lifted in Canada and abroad after more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the long-awaited reopening has coincided with a series of global pressures weighing on companies.

Among those pressures are rising interest rates, an inflation level not seen in many years, Russia waging war on Ukraine, supply chain difficulties and even labour shortages.

Telus has not been unscathed, though Entwistle said, to deal with the conditions, the company has a “pretty resilient strategy” focused on Telus International and bundling.

Telus International (TI) was created to operate call centres, but has since shifted to selling information technology and business services like content moderation and mobile app development.

“We have the benefit of being able to access labour arbitrage at TI, so yes, we’ve got pressure. They’ve got pressure,” said Entwistle. “But to the extent to which we can use the TI asset to support, buttress the economics of TELUS Corp., I think all the better.”

The company, he said, also does better in an inflationary period like this one by being “bundlers,” meaning its breadth of offerings give it opportunities to upsell customers on new services they can add to their accounts.

The company used this strategy last month, when it unveiled Stream+, a streaming bundling combining Netflix’s premium plan, Apple TV+ and Discovery+ in a single bill for $25 per month.

Entwistle offered his insights into how the company is contending with economic pressures as Telus announced its profit increased in its most recent quarter as it boosted its revenue and wireless customer base, while promoting a new premium streaming product.

The Vancouver-based telecommunications company revealed its net income attributable to common shares totalled $385 million or 28 cents per share in its first quarter, compared with $331 million or 25 cents per share a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, Telus earned 30 cents per share for the quarter ended March 3 compared with 27 cents per share a year ago.

Operating revenues and other income rose to $4.28 billion compared with $4.02 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

It added a record 148,000 new customers in the quarter including 46,000 mobile phones, 30,000 internet additions and 26,000 security additions.

The company also raised its quarterly dividend to 33.86 cents per share, up 7.1 per cent from 31.62 cents.

The results pushed Telus’ stock up by 70 cents or roughly two per cent to $32.33 in mid-afternoon trading.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2022.

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Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press