By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO (Reuters) - Telus Corp, one of Canada's three biggest telecommunications companies, on Friday reported surprisingly strong wireless subscriber growth and raised the low end of its profit outlook, helping push its shares higher.
The company's second-quarter results, which included higher earnings, rounded out a strong quarter for wireless growth across the industry. Vancouver-based Telus bounced back from a slow start to the year, brushing off weakness in the oil-rich province of Alberta, one of its primary markets, caused by lower crude prices and the aftermath of a major wildfire.
"Let's go out and see if we can leverage this crisis because one of the things our technology should be able to deliver for business customers is greater business efficiency and workforce productivity," Telus Chief Executive Officer Darren Entwistle said on a call with analysts.
Telus said it added 61,000 net postpaid wireless customers in the quarter, lower than the 76,000 who signed up a year earlier but much higher than the 8,000 in the first quarter.
In the same period, market leader Rogers Communications Inc added 65,000 such customers, and BCE Inc, Telus' network-sharing partner, signed almost 70,000.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Drew McReynolds wrote in a note that Telus' operational results should "ease fears around growth and execution" and that the robust wireless subscriber growth was a positive surprise.
The company's shares were up 2.4 percent at C$43.63 in afternoon trading.
Telus also competes with Shaw Communications Inc for landline internet, television and telephone subscribers in Western Canada, while Shaw also recently added wireless to its offering via its purchase of Wind Mobile.
Telus said it expected to spend more this year than earlier projected as it builds out an upgraded fiber-optic fixed-line network.
The company raised the low end of its full-year consolidated revenue forecast to C$12.78 billion ($9.82 billion) from C$12.75 billion. It maintained the high end at C$12.88 billion.
Telus said operating expenses fell 1.1 percent to C$2.46 billion.
The company's restructuring and other costs fell 61 percent, while its income tax dropped nearly 16 percent.
Net income for Telus rose to C$416 million, or 70 Canadian cents per share, from C$341 million, or 56 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 69 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Operating revenue rose to C$3.15 billion from C$3.10 billion. Analysts had expected C$3.20 billion.
(Additional reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Lisa Von Ahn)