Is Telus Corporation a Strong Buy After its Action-Packed Q1 Report?

Telus Corporation (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) announced solid first-quarter earnings results, a dividend hike, and other news on May 5, but its stock has reacted by remaining relatively flat. Should you buy now?

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Telus Corporation (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU), one of Canada’s largest telecommunication companies, announced first-quarter earnings results, a dividend hike, and other important news before the market opened on May 5, but its stock has responded by remaining relatively flat. Let’s break down the report to determine if this lack of movement represents a long-term buying opportunity or if we should wait for a better entry point in the trading sessions ahead.

Breaking down the first-quarter results

Here’s a summary of Telus’s first-quarter earnings results compared with what analysts had expected and its results in the same period a year ago.

Metric Q1 2016 Actual Q1 2016 Expected Q1 2015 Actual
Adjusted Earnings Per Share $0.70 $0.71 $0.70
Operating Revenues $3.11 billion $3.11 billion $3.03 billion

Source: Financial Times

Telus’s adjusted basic earnings per share remained unchanged and its operating revenues increased 2.6% compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Its flat earnings-per-share performance can be attributed to its weighted-average number of diluted shares outstanding decreasing 2.6% to 594 million, which offset the negative impact of its adjusted net income decreasing 3% to $414 million.

Its slight revenue growth can be attributed to growth in both of its operating segments, including 1.8% growth to $1.7 billion in its Wireless segment and 3.7% growth to $1.41 billion in its Wireline segment. The growth in its Wireless segment was driven by its wireless subscriber base increasing 1.2% to 8.39 million and its average revenue per user increasing 1.2% to $63.08, while the growth in its Wireline segment was driven by growth in business process outsourcing revenues and growth in its Internet and TV revenues, reflecting growth in its subscriber bases.

Here’s a quick breakdown of six other notable statistics from the report compared with the year-ago period:

  1. Total subscriber connections increased 1.5% to 12.44 million
  2. High-speed Internet subscribers increased 6.7% to 1.6 million
  3. TV subscribers increased 8.4% to 1.02 million
  4. Network access lines decreased 6.2% to 1.44 million
  5. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization increased 3.1% to $1.19 billion
  6. Free cash flow decreased 60.1% to $108 million

Shareholder-friendly moves

Telus also made three very important announcements.

First, it announced a 4.5% increase to its quarterly dividend to $0.46 per share.

Second, it announced an extension to its dividend-growth program, in which it will target 7-10% annual growth for 2017-2019.

Third, it announced a share-repurchase program, in which it will target repurchases of up to $250 million for 2017-2019.

Should you buy Telus today?

It was a solid quarter overall for Telus, and its three announcements show that it’s fully dedicated to maximizing shareholder value, so I think its stock should have responded by soaring. With this being said, I think the lack of movement represents a great long-term buying opportunity for two reasons in particular.

First, it’s undervalued. Telus stock trades at just 14.9 times fiscal 2016’s estimated earnings per share of $2.66 and only 14.3 times fiscal 2017’s estimated earnings per share of $2.77, both of which are inexpensive compared with its five-year average price-to-earnings multiple of 17.4 and the industry average multiple of 20.4. These multiples are also inexpensive given the company’s estimated 7.4% long-term earnings growth rate, and its planned share repurchases will amplify its growth potential.

Second, it has one of the best dividends in the market. Telus now pays an annual dividend of $1.84 per share, which gives its stock a high and very safe yield of about 4.65%. It is also very important to note that the company has raised its annual dividend payment for 12 consecutive years, and its dividend-growth program will keep this streak going for the next several years.

With all of the information provided above in mind, I think Telus represents one of the best long-term investment opportunities in the market. All Foolish investors should strongly consider making it a core holding.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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