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Did Rogers’ Wheeling and Dealing Help Its Bottom Line?

It has been a very busy year for Rogers (TSX: RCI.B)(NYSE:RCI) and now it’s time to check the books and see if all that work has paid off. Rogers launched several new services during 2013, including:

  • Suretap mobile wallet launched with CIBC
  • The unconfirmed alternative to Netflix called ShowMi
  • Next Issue Canada, a digital subscription magazine service
  • Rogers First Rewards loyalty program in Ontario
  • MLB Network, a 24-hour baseball dedicated network

But all this pales in comparison to the blockbuster 10-year, $5.2 billion deal with the NHL for the Canadian national broadcast rights. Rogers has been actively seeking out new ways to draw in subscribers who have been drifting away from the company in recent years.

Year-end numbers

The results are in and Rogers posted 2013 revenues of $12.7 billion, with a net profit of $1.669 million. While revenues increased, there was a noticeable decline in net profits. In 2012 revenues were $12.4 billion, and posted a net profit of $1.725 million. Several factors have contributed to this decline including wireless, cable and media.

Wireless

Rogers saw some healthy gains in 2013 with 237,000 new subscribers, although these gains were hindered by lower wireless roaming rates and the rise of data sharing plans. Rogers Wireless revenues fell to $7,270 million in 2013 from $7,280 in 2012; on the profit end 2013 saw an increase from $3,063 million in 2012 to $3,157 million in 2013.

Cable

Rogers Cable experienced some good an bad news in 2013. Revenues and profits are up, with 2013 revenues at $3,475 million and adjusted profits $1,718 million. This is up from $3,358 million in 2012 revenues, and an adjusted profit $1,605 million. The bad news is a loss in subscribers: 2013 ended with 2,167 million subscriptions down from 2,214 million in 2012. The growing trend of “cord cutting” seems to be hindering Rogers numbers and investors are waiting to see if the unconfirmed ShowMi can indeed compete with Netflix.

Media

Media is responsible for the creation and broadcasting of television also saw a mixed bag in 2013. Revenues increased to $1,704 billion from $1,620 billion in 2012, but adjusted profits dropped to $161 million from $190 million in 2012. Gains were made through higher sales at The Shopping Channel and an additional $20 million was brought in from better timing of NHL broadcasts. However an overall decline in the advertising market continues to work against the company. The hope is that this could be offset by the 2014-2015 NHL season.

Foolish bottom line

Although it has been an up and down year for Rogers, it has approved a 5% increase to its annual dividend, which will now be $1.83 per share. Analysts remain weary as trends and consumer habits continue to shift away from traditional cable. However on the positive side, there could be an upside through upgraded networks and the growth of its sports portfolio. This has led analysts to lower their price target from $48 to $46, with some going as low as $46.43, slightly above Friday’s close of $43.28.

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Fool contributor Cameron Conway does not own any shares in the companies mentioned.

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