Why BCE Inc. Belongs in Your Portfolio

When it comes to selecting companies to be a part of your portfolio, BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)(NYSE:BCE) is one company that should be the top of the list. It is a staple of Canadian business and investing and has been paying dividends to investors for over a century. The company recently reported quarterly results that further solidify why BCE should be a part of your portfolio if it isn’t already.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

Quarterly results are in, and they are positive

The company posted fourth-quarter results that were generally positive. Despite net income falling 8.5% to $496 million, the company still managed to post adjusted profit at the same level as last year at $0.72 per share. Revenues were up by 1.4% in the quarter, coming in as per analysts’ expectations at $5.6 billion.

BCE is well known throughout the industry as having one of the best dividends around; it paid out $2.60 per share annually. The dividend got a welcome bump in the most recent quarter. It will now be $2.73 annually from the April 15th payment.

While much of the market has started off the year (and remains in) the red, BCE currently trades at $57.80 and is up year-to-date by over 8%.

BCE’s landlines are still needed, despite the shift to mobile

You can’t think of BCE without conjuring up images of the iconic landline phone that the company is so well known for.

Wireless and IoT devices may be the future of communications, but the 140-year old landline is still a needed device, or at least BCE CEO George Cope would see it that way.

The reasoning behind holding on to the older technology can be seen as more of a generational habit among subscribers and as a contingency plan for dealing with disasters that would overload or knock out mobile coverage altogether.

While this may hold true for the time being, a shift to mobile-only is occurring in the home. Last year marked the first year that wireless-only subscribers outnumbered landline subscribers. In the final three months of last year BCE lost nearly 60,000 subscribers from the landline business, roughly in line with losses from the prior year.

The holidays are over and it’s back to (wireless) business

One of the most competitive times of the year for companies is the holidays. During this past holiday season, BCE and competitors Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corporation all tried to sweeten deals with new offers and spending on customer retention.

Canada’s Big Three control nearly 90% of the market, making the competition ever more intense. Now that the holiday season is over, however, all of the Big Three have moved on, reducing offers and increasing prices.

In the most recent quarter revenue from the wireless division, where competition is most fierce, was up by over 6% to come in at $1.59 billion with over 90,000 new postpaid subscribers coming aboard.

In my opinion, there are fewer options on the market right now that pose a greater benefit to dividend-seeking investors than BCE. The company has consistently paid handsome dividends, and it has an extremely solid financial backing that has been steadily growing for years.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS INC. CL B NV. Rogers Communications is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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