BCE Inc. (BCE) CEO Mirko Bibic on This autumn 2021 Outcomes – Earnings Name Transcript

BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) This autumn 2021 Earnings Convention Name February 3, 2022 8:00 AM ET

Firm Members

Richard Bengian – Investor Relations

Mirko Bibic – President & Chief Government Officer

Glen LeBlanc – Chief Monetary Officer

Convention Name Members

Jeff Fan – Scotiabank

Drew McReynolds – RBC Capital Markets

Aravinda Galappatthige – Canaccord Genuity

Vince Valentini – TD Securities

Simon Flannery – Morgan Stanley


Good morning women and gents. Welcome to the This autumn 2021 Outcomes and 2022 Monetary Steerage Convention Name and Webcast.

I might now like to show the assembly over to Mr. Richard Bengian. Please go forward sir.

Richard Bengian

Thanks, Mo and good morning to all. With me right here as we speak are Mirko Bibic, BCE’s President and CEO; and our CFO, Glen LeBlanc. Our Head of Investor Relations, Thane Fotopoulos could not be right here as a result of he lately had an eye fixed surgical procedure that prevented him from internet hosting as we speak’s convention name, however he shall be again subsequent quarter.

You could find all of This autumn — all of our This autumn disclosure paperwork on the Investor Relations web page of the web site which have been posted this morning. We’ve numerous materials to get by this morning.

Nonetheless, earlier than we start, I wish to draw your consideration to the Secure Harbor assertion reminding you that as we speak’s slide presentation and remarks made through the name will embrace forward-looking info and due to this fact, are topic to dangers and uncertainties.

Outcomes might differ materially. We disclaim any obligation to replace forward-looking statements besides as required by legislation. Please discuss with the corporate’s publicly filed paperwork for extra particulars on assumptions and dangers.

With that I am going to now hand over the decision to Mirko.

Mirko Bibic

Thanks, Richard and good morning everybody. We had one other profitable yr at Bell. As we proceed to execute on our function which is to advance how Canadians join with one another and the world. A laser-focus on our key strategic imperatives enabled us to ship for all our stakeholders over the previous yr and stays the muse for Bell’s future success.

With the proper strategic roadmap for future development and a transparent near-term tactical plan for each a part of our enterprise, the Bell staff delivered optimistic outcomes throughout all working segments in 2021 hitting the candy spot between market share development and monetary efficiency.

We achieved our goal of steadily bettering outcomes every quarter since Q2 of 2020 and in reality, we’re now basically at 2019 ranges having reached roughly 99% of pre-COVID consolidated income and adjusted EBITDA in 2021.

We not solely met however we really surpassed our upsized community growth targets for 2021 delivering roughly 1.1 million new areas outfitted with both direct fiber or wi-fi residence web connections. And we expanded cell 5G protection to greater than 70% of Canadians as we additionally efficiently secured $2.1 billion price of essential 3.5-gigahertz spectrum.

Notably, I am happy to report that we successfully accomplished our Wi-fi Dwelling Web buildout program for the good thing about a whole lot of rural communities having now reached our a million family goal one yr sooner than initially deliberate. This can be a testomony to the distinctive work of the Bell Community staff native authorities cooperation and supportive regulatory insurance policies.

In our wi-fi phase, we stay targeted on rising high-value postpaid cell phone subscribers, managing buyer churn, and delivering industry-leading service income development and profitability.

Whole cell phone postpaid internet provides in 2021 almost doubled year-over-year to 301,706 driving service income development of 4% and 5% greater adjusted EBITDA regardless of a muted restoration in roaming.

In residential wireline, Bell’s main broadband networks are clearly delivering rapid tangible advantages on subscriber development market share and Web income. In actual fact prior to now two quarters, we achieved optimistic whole retail residential internet buyer additions together with satellite tv for pc TV and residential cellphone. It is the primary time we have achieved so in seven years driving our greatest annual residential RGU efficiency since 2011.

We additionally proceed to win share in our quickly increasing fiber footprint with 202,000 new internet fiber buyer additions up 20% over 2020 which contributed to sturdy annual Web development of near 11%.

As our staff continues to handle near-term COVID monetary impacts and ongoing legacy service decline the group stays targeted on placing the constructing blocks in place to make sure Bell is strategically well-positioned to seize a number one share of the IoT and next-generation options income enabled by 5G fiber convergence.

With important high-capacity 3.5-gigahertz airwaves at our disposal now we have the mid-band spectrum essential to drive the rollout of true 5G throughout Canada. However success in 5G and IoT will rely on extra than simply protection.

Trade management requires delivering the quickest speeds and the bottom latency and Bell’s wi-fi community presents the quickest information speeds and quickest response occasions as licensed by PCMag, Ookla, Tutela and International Wi-fi Options of their newest research of cell community efficiency.

Management additionally requires leveraging community factors of presence equivalent to central workplaces for MEC that help product improvement. In that regard, Bell has already entered into strategic partnerships with Amazon Net Companies, Google Cloud and different main hyperscalers to develop our IoT MEC and cloud choices. And management after all requires cultivating deep relationships with the most important Canadian corporations. So irrespective of which essential success issue you take a look at we’re very well-positioned.

And we’re persevering with to construct 5G momentum with modern new enterprise and shopper purposes. Current 5G enterprise initiatives embrace our current announcement that Bell turned a founding companion an unique telecom supplier of The PIER on the Halifax Seaport. We’re deploying a 5G-ready wi-fi non-public community to allow a dwelling lab that may form the way forward for the transportation provide chain and logistics industries in Canada.

One other initiative I might like to focus on is the launch of sensible provide chain powered by Bell IoT Good Join a Software program-as-a-Service IoT aggregation answer designed for fleet and provide chain operators. One of many first purposes is chilly chain monitoring an answer to routinely document temperature ranges and supply real-time alerts after they fall exterior protected ranges, whereas cargo is in transit.

On the patron aspect of issues, earlier this week, we launched our new limitless Final plans. We consider these plans will actually reveal the worth prop of 5G and function a catalyst for the upcoming improve cycle from 4G to 5G handsets. We’re additionally going to drive present 5G prospects up the limitless charge plan curve by distinguishing the superior video high quality provided by our Final plans and leveraging Crave Cellular.

And as we execute on our technique it is undoubtedly price highlighting that we’re hitting the general public coverage candy spot of high quality, protection and value. Our high quality speaks for itself. As for protection it is accelerated significantly in each city and underserved rural areas on account of our capital development program. And on value, we achieved the federal authorities’s 25% value discount goal nicely forward of the January 2022 deadline and as per mid-range wi-fi plans.

And in line with current Stats Can information pricing for companies for wi-fi companies — excuse me, declined 15% in 2021, whereas the worth Canadians pay for all items and companies has really elevated 4.8%. So we’re seeing the impacts of elevated value inflation throughout the Canadian financial system but our {industry} is delivering the best high quality companies at lowering costs.

I am going to flip now to media. Our media phase skilled a notable rebound from COVID in 2021 as TV advert income returned to pre-pandemic ranges in Q3, whereas our deal with French language TV led Noovo to outpace its fundamental rivals in viewership development. And we’re additionally gaining important traction from our pivot to a digital-first technique which I’ve mentioned prior to now. Just a little bit extra on that.

Like customers advertisers gravitate in direction of high quality. And that is what we’re delivering to them with industry-leading content material delivered on high-quality on-line and conventional platforms to the biggest audiences a rising proportion of which is addressable.

Advertisers need the simplest strategy to attain a particular viewers for a particular message. Typically that requires a broad attain and generally that requires addressing a particular or focused viewers. With SAM TV and the Bell promoting platform we ship highly effective advert tech to advertisers for all these wants and the technique is working.

Digital revenues elevated a powerful 35% in 2021 and now symbolize 20% of whole Bell Media income which is up from 16% final yr. And underpinning this very sturdy efficiency was Crave, which grew direct streaming subscribers by 28% in 2021.

We proceed to scale our CTV AVOD app which turned the highest AVOD platform in Canada this previous yr. And naturally I discussed our SAM TV gross sales device which tripled gross sales income in 2021. So the strategic initiatives I’ve highlighted throughout our working segments are supported our buyer experience-focused tradition as nicely and that is driving improved satisfaction loyalty and retention with improved NPS scores and decrease buyer churn.

And this previous yr noticed the formalization of our dedication to carry Bell to the best requirements of ESG with the launch of Bell For Higher by which we are going to help a greater office, higher communities and a greater world.

I’ll flip now to slip 5, offer you an summary of a few of our key working metrics particularly for This autumn. Let’s begin with wi-fi. We added 110,000 new internet postpaid cell phone subscribers, 49% greater than final yr and 76% greater than This autumn of 2019. This sturdy outcome was realized regardless of decreased retail retailer visitors late within the quarter caused by renewed COVID restrictions.

Pent-up buyer demand helps drive greater new gross activations, which grew 14% year-over-year. That is a operate of a number of issues: shops reopening, immigration development, 5G momentum, extra deal with bundling of mobility with Bell’s residential companies and efficient buyer base administration as you possibly can see by a low postpaid churn charge of 1.08 within the quarter.

For cell related units, though new IoT subscriptions elevated over final yr to 88,000, whole internet provides have been simply 39,000, as we proceed to deemphasize unprofitable low-ARPU information system transactions. And in pay as you go, whole internet provides have been barely optimistic however that represented a notable enchancment in comparison with This autumn of 2020.

Lastly a phrase on ARPU. It was up a robust 3.3% our third consecutive quarter of year-over-year development. This industry-leading result’s a direct reflection of our continued deal with higher-value smartphone subscribers and better roaming volumes pushed by the easing of worldwide journey restrictions.

Turning now to Wireline. We achieved the second consecutive quarter of optimistic RGU retail residential internet provides. This represents our greatest This autumn efficiency since 2015 and caps off our strongest residential outcome together with satellite tv for pc TV and residential cellphone internet losses prior to now 10 years.

We added 48,000 new internet retail Web prospects 7% greater than This autumn of 2020 throughout a time once we had skilled unseasonably sturdy demand as a consequence of COVID. It was one other standout quarter for Bell TV with our greatest This autumn IPTV internet provides prior to now three years as we leveraged our a number of manufacturers and decrease buyer churn notably in our IPTV fiber footprint to drive 29,000 new subscribers this quarter, up 38% versus 2020.

Placing all of this collectively, on the finish of the yr on the finish of 2021, 91% of Bell residential households with TV and Web have been on our FTTH community. That is a notable information level because the steadily rising variety of prospects on Bell 5 companies is driving stronger Web income development, greater family ARPU, decrease churn and improved general EBITDA efficiency.

At Bell Media, TV advertiser demand remained sturdy all through the quarter supported by the return to extra regular Main League sports activities and fall TV schedules. The continued COVID-related challenges in radio additionally redirected some incremental advertiser {dollars} in direction of TV and digital. These components drove a 14% year-over-year improve in whole TV promoting income, which was above pre-pandemic ranges for a second consecutive quarter, 12% greater than This autumn of 2019 actually.

We additionally noticed nice outcomes from our Quebec media technique in 2021 as Noovo led in prime time viewership development versus its largest rivals. And only a few weeks in the past we launched the brand new noovo.information digital platform.

Lastly, Crave subscriptions elevated 6% during the last yr to greater than 2.9 million. And actually 2021 was essentially the most watched yr ever for Crave streaming platforms, a fantastic outcome.

Okay. I am going to flip to Slide 6. 2021 was a reset yr as we transition in direction of a return to pre-pandemic ranges of monetary efficiency and working momentum. And though COVID turbulence remains to be anticipated to ebb and move within the near-term due to Omicron, we’re optimistic about our enterprise outlook as mirrored in our monetary steerage targets for 2022.

We’re getting into 2022 with a transparent set of priorities and a deal with execution constructed on the working progress in 2021, which I outlined intimately. We anticipate that income and adjusted EBITDA will surpass pre-COVID-19 ranges – 2019 ranges. Sorry pre-COVID-19, 2019 ranges, supporting a second yr of historic development in capital funding. And that historic development in capital funding shall be roughly $5 billion in 2022.

We’re forging forward with our most bold annual fiber buildout but and the launch of a stand-alone 5G core that may allow quicker information speeds and decrease latencies than what is obtainable with 5G as we speak.

And as we glance ahead, with much more fiber and 5G development upside on the horizon and a value construction that displays these benefits, not solely can we notice operational advantages sooner, however we’re additionally supporting future free money move development to help our dividend development mannequin.

Dividend development continues to be a prime capital markets precedence. You see this dedication with our announcement this morning of a 5.1% improve to BCE’s widespread share dividend for 2022. It is our 14th consecutive yr of a 5% or greater dividend improve and my third as CEO.

Normalized for the superior capital investments we’re making as soon as once more this yr, our dividend payout ratio in 2022 shall be round 80% above our historic free money move goal vary of 65% to 75%. Our wholesome free money move development and a robust liquidity place totally help the execution of this second yr of our two-year capital development program, and BCE’s greater widespread share dividend.

So now what I wish to do is go to slip seven. I am going unpack for you the second yr of our capital acceleration program. Our 2022 CapEx, consists of $900 million in accelerated funding on prime of the roughly $4 billion in baseline capital that we have usually spent every year during the last decade. This compares to whole CapEx of $4.8 billion in 2021, which in 2021 included $800 million of incremental spending beneath the primary yr of the two-year program.

Because of the early completion of our deliberate WHI buildout initiative, we’re allocating extra of the incremental capital earmarked for 2022 in direction of fiber. The plan this yr is to achieve as much as an extra 900,000 properties and companies throughout our footprint with fiber. That is our most aggressive annual fiber construct ever, representing a rise of 300,000 new areas in comparison with 2021.

On the finish of this yr, roughly 80% of our deliberate broadband Web construct shall be accomplished, representing greater than 8.1 million whole mixed fiber and wi-fi residence web areas. That is up from 7.2 million premises on the finish of 2021.

So not solely are we delivering one of the best Web expertise within the residence as we speak with 1.5 gigabit speeds and unmatched WiFi, however we even have a low-cost transition to a multi-gig future with 10 GPON upgrades to our fiber spine already underway. And that may evolve to 25 GPON over time and as nicely upgrades to WiFi 6E service.

In Wi-fi, our accelerated capital funding will develop the attain of our nationwide 5G community to greater than 80% of Canadians, additional densify the community with 1,100 new 5G websites to fulfill rising buyer utilization necessities and it’ll allow the launch of a 5G stand-alone core, leveraging lately acquired 3.5 spectrum that may drive enhanced speeds, decrease latency and different 5G networks license options.

So taken all collectively and normalized for the $900 million capital development, our capital depth ratio is predicted to be within the vary of 16% to 17% in 2022, per typical pre-COVID ranges. I am going to shut now by highlighting that after all your entire Bell staff appears to be like ahead to delivering for our prospects and our shareholders in 2022.

And on that, I am going to flip the decision over to Glen.

Glen LeBlanc

Thanks, Mirko and good morning everybody. As Mirko mentioned, This autumn capped off a fantastic yr in our COVID restoration, with a wholesome 3% improve in service income, pushed by continued sturdy Wi-fi residential Web and media development. Whole income was up a extra modest 1.8% as a consequence of decrease year-over-year product income, reflecting COVID-related softness in enterprise information tools gross sales and cell system transactions.

Consolidated adjusted EBITDA development slowed to 1.1% in This autumn. As I signaled on our Q3 name in November, this outcome was anticipated, given the resetting of Bell Media’s TV programming and broadcast rights prices to a extra regular pre-COVID run charge.

Internet earnings decreased 29.4% consequently — as our end in This autumn of 2022 included a one-time achieve realized as you’ll recall on the divestiture of our information facilities. Equally, adjusted EPS was down 6.2% this quarter to $0.76 as a consequence of a positive tax changes acknowledged final yr, once more, associated to the sale of information facilities.

Capital expenditures remained elevated in This autumn at $1.46 billion as we advance spending per our two-year CapEx program, Mirko simply detailed. Regardless of substantial capital spending this quarter, free money move elevated year-over-year as a consequence of timing-related decreases in money taxes and curiosity funds on Bell Canada MTN debt.

Let’s flip to Bell Wi-fi financials on slide 10. One other stand-out efficiency that led nationwide friends as soon as once more with service income and EBITDA that surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 ranges for a second consecutive quarter.

Service income grew a robust 6.3%, our greatest quarterly end in 4 years. This was achieved whilst roaming remained under pre-pandemic volumes, reflecting the profitable execution of our technique to develop high-value cell phone subscribers and successfully handle the decline in information overage income, as we transfer postpaid prospects to higher-tier limitless plans to reap the benefits of 5G community speeds and companies.

Cellular system stock in This autumn continued to be constrained by international provide chain challenges. Much like Q3, however to a lesser diploma, this contributed to fewer buyer smartphone upgrades and a better proportion of recent prospects activating service with preowned units, leading to a 3.6% year-over-year lower in product income. The excessive flow-through of sturdy service income development yielded EBITDA development of 5.3% and a 90 level improve in margin to 38.4%.

Let’s flip to slip 11 and Bell Wireline. The year-over-year income decline in This autumn was just like final quarter, as we continued to face COVID-related challenges in our enterprise markets unit. And a step-up in residential promotional provide depth in comparison with This autumn of 2020, when competitor exercise was extra restrained.

Service income was steady year-over-year, pushed by sturdy residential Web income development of seven%, whereas product income decreased 10.5% as a result of softer information tools gross sales attributed to delayed enterprise buyer spending and once more international provide chain challenges due to COVID.

On a optimistic notice, regardless of near-term COVID impacts, This autumn represented one of the best quarterly service income efficiency of 2021 for Bell Enterprise Markets, the place greater buyer spending on cloud and safety options drove a 5% year-over-year improve in Enterprise Options income. The mixed influence of the continued residential energy and bettering enterprise wireline outcomes delivered wholesome This autumn EBITDA development of 1.1% and a 70 level growth in margins to 43.1%.

Turning to slip 12 on Bell Media, one other good quarter general with sturdy advertiser spending throughout our TV and out-of-home platforms and continued subscriber development that Mirko detailed earlier. That collectively drove 7.3% year-over-year improve in whole media income.

Whole promoting income elevated 12%, pushed by stronger year-over-year typical and specialty TV efficiency, reflecting the return to a extra regular common main league sports activities and fall TV programming schedules, greater out-of-home income and elevated leisure and journey exercise with the easing of COVID restrictions and strong digital media development, as Mirko talked about.

Nonetheless, radio has been sluggish to get well and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as a consequence of ongoing COVID-related restrictions on native companies and work-from-home protocols. Regardless of a robust income efficiency this quarter, EBITDA was down 19%.

This outcome was anticipated, given considerably greater year-over-year programming and broadcast rights prices with the return to common main league sports activities schedules and a better quantity of unique TV productions in comparison with 2020 when cancellations and delays had a positive influence on working prices.

I am going to now flip to our monetary outlook for 2022 beginning with income and EBITDA on slide 14. Progress charges are just like 2021 with a barely greater a wider vary excuse me for income of 1% to five%. This along with focused adjusted EBITDA development of two% to five% ought to yield a comparatively steady year-over-year consolidated margin and assist allow us to surpass full yr 2019 monetary efficiency ranges.

Broadening our income steerage vary for 2022 is prudent given ongoing financial uncertainty with the most recent Omicron wave that’s slowing the tempo of restoration in roaming product gross sales, enterprise shopper spending, the enterprise buyer spending and non-TV media promoting. However underpinning this outlook is optimistic prime line and EBITDA development for all Bell segments.

We anticipate a good stronger monetary contribution from Bell Wi-fi in 2022, pushed by our ongoing deal with higher-value cell phone subscribers, a extra strong roaming restoration, rational system discounting and a better quantity of shoppers transacting as COVID-related provide constraints alleviate. The decline in information overage income is predicted to be comparatively steady year-over-year once more as a consequence of our base administration technique.

We additionally anticipate additional ARPU enchancment by a better combine of shoppers on higher-value charge plans, together with limitless information plans because the 5G improve cycle accelerates and better year-over-year roaming. Regardless of the development in rolling volumes projected whole roaming revenues is predicted to stay under pre-COVID ranges.

At Bell Wireline, we anticipate to generate optimistic income and EBITDA development on a full yr foundation. That is predicated on continued sturdy residential efficiency on the again of quickly rising fiber footprint and product management that positions us extraordinarily nicely to proceed rising Web market share and income quicker than our rivals.

We additionally anticipate bettering charges of year-over-year enterprise income and EBITDA decline as COVID-related turbulence dissipates. Once more, that backdrop — in opposition to that backdrop we shall be sustaining a pointy deal with price to offset the monetary influence of ongoing legacy erosion which continues to sluggish.

As for Bell Media whole promoting is predicted to climb again to pre-COVID ranges as sturdy TV advertiser demand continues. And the rebound in radio and out-of-home takes maintain extra totally. We additionally anticipate the profit from contract renewals with TV distributors and continued Crave development to drive greater year-over-year subscription income whereas persevering with to develop our share of digital advert spend.

Lastly, regardless of a resetting of the price construction in This autumn that introduced TV programming prices nearer to pre-COVID run charge ranges we shall be absorbing even greater spend in 2022 as we return to regular broadcast schedules for the complete yr, develop French language content material and additional improve Crave programming stock.

I am now going to show to slip 15, and focus on pensions. Our solvency ratio throughout our main outlined profit pension plans was above 105% on the finish of 2021, with the Bell Canada DB plant by far the biggest of all BC pension plans at 111%. This sturdy valuation place was achieved even with out a materials improve in rates of interest in 2021 and a stable 5.5% return on deliberate property.

Having reached surplus positions of over 105% contribution holidays can now be taken on an annual funding — on the annual money funding which totals roughly $200 million in combination throughout all BCE plans. Nonetheless, we are able to solely reap the benefits of a partial discount in 2022, since we filed our last actuarial evaluations on the finish of June.

Because of this, BCE’s pension money funding for 2022 is projected to be about $75 million decrease than final yr at round $275 million in whole. Though the in-year money funding discount was really nearer to $90 million this features a pre-existing contribution vacation within the vary of $15 million on considered one of our smaller plans we have beforehand taken.

All issues being equal, I consider that in 2023 we will reap the benefits of full money funding nearer to the quantity of $200 million, which must also proceed for the foreseeable planning horizon as we mission the solvency ratio for every DB plan to stay above the required 105% threshold. So we’re speaking a couple of very actual $1 billion free money move alternative over the subsequent 5 years that we did not have in our lengthy vary plan only a few years in the past. That may very well be used to fund continued fiber acceleration and naturally help our dividend development mannequin.

Transferring to our tax outlook on slide 16. Statutory tax charge for 2022 stays unchanged at 27%. Our efficient tax charge for accounting functions can be projected to be comparatively steady once more at 27%, reflecting a really — reflecting an analogous year-over-year degree of tax changes of roughly $0.05 per share. We’re additionally anticipating money taxes to lower to throughout the $800 million to $900 million vary as greater deliberate capital spending in 2022 will generate incremental tax financial savings beneath the federal authorities’s accelerated CCA program, greater than offsetting the influence of elevated earnings taxes from greater year-over-year taxable earnings as our operations get well extra totally from the results of this pandemic.

Slide 17 summarizes our adjusted EPS outlook for 2022, which we mission to be $3.25 to $3.40 a share or 2% to 7% greater year-over-year. That is just like final yr’s development vary and displays a robust underlying contribution from operations pushed by the optimistic EBITDA development throughout all three Bell segments and the decrease pension financing prices I referenced earlier.

These components shall be partially offset by roughly $100 million to $150 million improve in depreciation and amortization as extra capital property shall be put into service sooner on account of our two-year accelerated capital funding plan, a step-up in curiosity expense as a consequence of greater excellent debt and better year-over-year earnings tax expense.

Let’s flip to slip 18. Free money move is projected to develop within the vary of two% to 10% in 2022, reflecting sturdy flow-through of upper EBITDA in addition to a discount in money taxes and pension funding that may largely offset the year-over-year improve in capital expenditures. BCE’s consolidated capital depth ratio for 2022 must be just like that of 2021 round 21% of whole income.

As Mirko talked about this consists of the $900 million of capital development that we’re concentrating on in 2022 as a part of our upsized two-year capital acceleration program. And once more as talked about earlier normalizing for this incremental capital funding our absolute greenback CapEx in 2022 decreases nearer to a $4 billion vary, which is according to pre-COVID historic spending.

A fast replace on our steadiness sheet and liquidity place on slide 19. As we start the yr now we have entry to $3.4 billion of liquidity and a steadiness sheet with a pension solvency surplus of totaling $2.3 billion that gives good general monetary flexibility, supporting the execution of our strategic priorities and better BCE dividend for 2022.

Our capital construction is aligned with our funding grade credit score rankings, which all have steady outlooks and our internet debt leverage ratio, which stays lowest amongst nationwide friends is projected to stay comparatively steady in 2022 at round 3.2 occasions adjusted EBITDA, reflecting the influence of our current 5G spectrum purchases and the capital development program.

Additionally highlighted on the slide is Bell’s favorable long-term debt maturity schedule that has a median time period of lower than 13 years and a low after-tax price of debt of simply 2.8% and no materials debt refinancing necessities till March of 2023 as $1.7 billion of the 2022 MTN maturities have been pre-financed and early redeemed in 2021.

Nonetheless, as now we have all the time achieved we intend to entry debt markets on an opportunistic foundation all through 2022 if market situations are favorable to strengthen our liquidity place, lengthen durations forward of the maturities and varied spectrum auctions happening over the subsequent few years.

To conclude on slide 20, we’re saying as we speak — what we’re saying as we speak is a robust set of monetary steerage targets for 2022. Basically all steerage ranges are just like 2021 apart from free money move, which is returning to development regardless of historic CapEx spending as we lapped COVID’s important impacts final yr.

Our outlook is underpinned by optimistic monetary profile for all three Bell working segments that mirror sound {industry} fundamentals and our constant execution in a aggressive market as we construct on favorable monetary efficiency, important broadband investments and working momentum we delivered in 2021.

And with that, Richard I am going to flip it again over to you and the operator to start Q&A.

Richard Bengian

Thanks, Glen. Given the quantity of data we offered this morning, I am delicate to the time now we have left. So earlier than we begin the Q&A interval, I might wish to ask you to restrict yourselves to 1 query and a quick follow-up in case you should in order that we are able to get to as many within the queue as potential. Thanks on your cooperation.

With that Mod, we’re able to take our first query.

Query-and-Reply Session


Thanks. [Operator Instructions] Our first query is from Jeff Fan from Scotiabank. Please go forward.

Jeff Fan

Thanks. Good morning, all people, and thanks for all the colour. I believe the query for me is on the community investments. And also you gave a lot coloration for 2022, so in all probability different questions relate to 2022. So I wish to look past 2022 if I could. And I do know you have no steerage for that. But when I take a look at your community round seven million is fiber-to-the-home. In order that’s roughly 70% of your focused footprint by the tip of this yr.

Mirko, the place does that go in case you look past 2022? Is there any have to go on the similar tempo? How do you concentrate on that? After which additionally the a million Wi-fi Dwelling Web footprint. Is that the place you want to finish, or is there overbuild? Are you able to simply speak somewhat bit round that? And I assume the associated query is what meaning for CapEx? Glen made some feedback about utilizing maybe pension vacation or funding vacation to assist fund this funding. Maybe you possibly can wrap it round what meaning for CapEx past 2022. Thanks.

Mirko Bibic

Thanks, Jeff. Thanks for the query for certain. I’ll begin off with — the primary a part of my reply shall be one thing you totally anticipate however crucial to say. Our focus proper now’s on the two-year program that we’re within the second yr of. So I guided final yr to 2 years of CapEx. And proper now the main target is on delivering on as much as 900,000 extra fiber properties and they’ll get us to these percentages that you simply talked about. However I do want to focus on that that is the main target proper now.

However you requested a good query. So, as we’re targeted on 2022 and because the yr progresses, we are going to regularly take a look at the scenario. And we will base our future build-out plans on components that embrace our broadband success and it is going rather well to date. Our general monetary scenario, which continues to enhance from the sort of the depths of Q2 2020 and likewise the supply of presidency subsidies. So, these would be the issues we take a look at as we prepare for 2023 CapEx and past.

And Glen talked about and also you highlighted it Jeff, now we have a really actual $1 billion in free money move alternative over the subsequent 5 years as a result of decreased pension funding. And that was not in my calculus once we introduced the two-year program presently final yr and that may present us with flexibility to grab on some strategic alternatives. So, finally — and we will have flexibility on our capital allocation technique. So yeah, we shall be 80% achieved on the ten million focused broadband footprint, however that is not 100% achieved.

So these are the components we’ll take a look at. We’ve extra flexibility on the allocation technique than I anticipated a yr in the past presently. In order that’s all nice information. And on Wi-fi Dwelling Web, I believe, 1 million footprint, I imply, I am actually pleased that we did {that a} yr sooner than deliberate. It is nice for the communities we’re serving. I believe that is the proper footprint.

Jeff Fan

That is nice. Thanks for the reply and kudos for the pension staff.

Mirko Bibic

Prepared for the subsequent query.


Thanks. Our subsequent query is from Drew McReynolds from RBC Capital Markets. Please go forward.

Drew McReynolds

Sure, thanks a lot and good morning. Jeff stole my query. So I am going to transfer on right here. Mirko simply possibly an even bigger image one on the Web market. And also you sort of alluded to in your final touch upon mounted wi-fi. Simply I believe, clearly, traders see what is going on on with the aggressive atmosphere within the US and attempting to attract conclusions right here in Canada. With respect to the aggressive depth within the Web market the fiber that is being deployed, the mounted wi-fi that is being deployed, the satellite tv for pc broadband that is coming into play. Simply are you able to give us sort of your sense of how this performs out within the subsequent two to 3 years when it comes to simply managing the chance of upper aggressive depth?

After which simply second only a clarification for you Glen on the pension vacation. Typically to see it — does this sort of expire after 5 years, or are you simply sort of saying look illustratively over the subsequent 5 years we get the $200 million profit every year and that equates to $1 billion, however not essentially sort of concluding something past sort of yr 5. Thanks.

Mirko Bibic

Thanks Drew. I am going to begin. So Glen will provide you with a extra detailed reply, however the brief reply is fiber cannot be beat. And I believe traders in Bell should be optimistic about that. Sure, so as a result of fiber cannot be beat and since customers and companies proceed to decide on fiber over different applied sciences, it might end in durations of time of some aggressive depth notably as COVID subsides. However we’ll be prepared, as a result of we’re targeted on delivering a wholesome steadiness of quantity tier combine value is sort of once more that candy spot between market share and monetary efficiency.

And we have got a lot of runway forward of us. So first we — fiber is healthier than the opposite applied sciences. We’ve runway forward of us when it comes to extra fiber construct. In actual fact as we sit right here as we speak in opposition to a few of our bigger rivals, now we have 50% fiber overlap with their community footprint. So to me that is a giant optimistic when it comes to wanting forward at what’s subsequent. After which I look forward even — not even that far out and I referenced it in my opening remarks as we enter right into a multi-gig world, and it is coming and it is coming quickly.

I like the benefits now we have. Our community is multi-gig prepared. And once I say multi-gig I imply multi-gig symmetrical up and down. I do not assume anybody ought to underestimate the significance of add speeds each for customers and for companies. We have got — we’re future-proofed on the capability in our community. We received no powered discipline elements to keep up. We do not have to recapture spectrum. We do not have to swap out modems within the properties served by a node with a view to ship greater speeds. So there is likely to be an uptick in promotional depth at specific durations of time Drew. However when you concentrate on the franchise we have got, we’re nicely set as much as win the family. And to win the family you need, fiber, 5G, greatest in-home WiFi and compelling content material. So we have got the proper asset combine and we’ll simply proceed to execute.

Glen LeBlanc

Thanks Mirko. Good morning, Drew. It is Glen. I am going to leap in and provides some coloration — extra coloration on pension. You and I’ve been speaking about this for a decade, however to assume the burden that the pension has positioned on our money move over time and the requirement to do particular funding. As Jeff mentioned, kudos to our pension staff. We did not get right here by chance. This has been a 10-year journey and a outstanding job of managing the pension once we adopted an asset combine glide path that had us transfer from considerably greater equities to a degree now the place we’re at greater than 70% in mounted earnings and 30% in equities. And even amongst these equities a a lot smaller portion of these in public.

So we discover ourselves from 2023 — or excuse me, 2013 to as we speak shifting from an rate of interest protection of 40% to 84%, which has given us an incredible alternative. And all of that happens, whereas rates of interest actually have not moved. So I might say, we might all on this name anticipate that there will be some improve in rates of interest, which can solely add to this chance. So, as we speak – and we needed to announce that we’re in a really assured place that we see a large pension contribution holidays to the tune of $200 million a yr for the foreseeable future. And I outline foreseeable future as 5 years. There is not any magic to that Drew. May that be longer? I definitely hope so. , how the maths works is that it’s a must to keep above 105%. And I believe our pension staff’s monitor document speaks for itself. I hope I am right here in 5 years telling you that it is going for longer. Thanks, Drew.

Drew McReynolds

Sure. Thanks, each.

Richard Bengian

Subsequent query, please.


Our subsequent query is from Aravinda Galappatthige from Canaccord Genuity. Please go forward.

Aravinda Galappatthige

Good morning. Thanks for taking my questions. My fundamental query is for you Mirko on the enterprise aspect. I imply, once I hear a few of the feedback you made about type of new initiatives on the IoT entrance in addition to even a few of the SaaS initiatives that you simply talked about. Are you able to simply give us a way of that development phase inside enterprise? I imply, the place are we when it comes to that piece type of assuming a degree of materiality that it could sort of actually transfer the needle to the aggregated quantity? I imply, traditionally, you have considered enterprise is sort of a drag on Bell and possibly it’ll be the case for somewhat bit longer as nicely. However as we attempt to look past 2022 and a few of the 5G-driven choices change into extra materials are you able to type of an image as to what and the way that may what that may seem like? And are we getting nearer to that point line the place that materiality develops?

After which a fast follow-up for Glen, on the steerage the two% to five% EBITDA possibly barely wider than I might have anticipated type of given a specific type of the sturdy sub developments in Wireline and clearly actually good service revenues in wi-fi. I used to be questioning, why – I used to be questioning, in case you may give somewhat bit coloration as to type of that – the dimensions of that vary and notably when it comes to EBITDA? Thanks.

Glen LeBlanc

Good morning, Aravinda, simply to remind you that the steerage vary we supplied in calendar 2021 was 2% to five% in income and the identical on EBITDA. We expanded income solely due to the feedback I made earlier within the volatility of product revenues and we remained constant on EBITDA 2% to five%. And a corporation that generates in extra of $10 billion a yr on EBITDA, and I really don’t see that as a very broad vary. I believe, in case you look again traditionally, the final decade we historically had a spread of roughly 2%. However this group has grown materially in dimension from the place we have been a decade in the past with the acquisitions we made and the expansion we have loved. So I believe 2% to five% is a really affordable vary constant to that of 2021. And our goal shall be to ship solidly inside that vary and I am assured we are going to.

Mirko Bibic

Thanks, Glen. So thanks for the query Aravinda. In your first query across the enterprise aspect and people new revenues. Look, I – the enterprise aspect and to a point – nicely not to a point the enterprise – the enterprise whether or not it is small or enterprise there’s been a COVID influence for certain. So in final yr and this yr, the main target actually is on managing these impacts, whereas by no means shedding sight of the significance of being able to seize the expansion within the segments you recognized whether or not or not it is 5G MEC, IoT that sort of answer spending. So what I like about what we’re doing is, these constructing blocks each quarter hold getting extra highly effective. And I did refer this morning to Bell IoT Good Join, and I hinted at chilly chain monitoring.

Simply for instance considered one of our purchasers, who’s utilizing the platform is a long-haul frozen seafood transporter they usually’re utilizing the platform to extend visibility into their operations be sure they’re compliant with meals security rules scale back spoilage. And what I believe is especially highly effective about our platform is it is a Software program-as-a-Service platform. It is not a easy level answer that primary suppliers can provide and it’ll function throughout a number of verticals. So I imply, are we there but the place there is a important will increase in these markets? No. Do now we have line of sight into them? Completely, sure. Do now we have purchasers? Sure. So I anticipate that to develop. When it turns into materials, I believe 2022 will nonetheless be a studying within the preliminary phases of development, however we will proceed to place the platforms in place to be prepared. Our IoT enterprise, I believe I discussed that the final quarter is already a 9 determine income enterprise. So fairly sizable in its personal proper already. In order that’s the place the main target is. We’re nicely positioned. And final phrase, simply in case you look within the right here and now really in sort of This autumn of 2021, it was our enterprise phase’s greatest quarterly service income efficiency of 2021. And we’re seeing some buyer spending come again on cloud and IoT service options and we noticed 5% development in that income in This autumn of 2021 in comparison with This autumn 2020. So I am optimistic. However when it comes to the elemental level of your query it is nonetheless to come back.

Aravinda Galappatthige


Richard Bengian

Subsequent query please.


Thanks. Our subsequent query is from Vince Valentini from TD Securities. Please go forward.

Vince Valentini

Thanks very a lot. I needed to attempt to unpack the 91% determine that you simply famous is kind of spectacular and I might agree when it comes to the share of your subs on fiber. However simply to be sure to did not say mounted wi-fi in that as nicely. You are simply saying fiber. So in case you indulge me, let me stroll by these numbers be sure to and Glen agree. You are 7.2 million whole fiber plus Wi-fi Dwelling Web properties handed. So it could imply 6.2 million fiber-to-the-home passings at this level out of your whole footprint of — city footprint of 10 million or simply over 10 million. So that may imply, 61% of your properties are handed by fiber, however but 91% of the subs that take Web and IPTV are round that footprint. Do I’ve all that math proper?

Mirko Bibic

Yeah. So it is — you have received it proper. So it is 61% as we speak, 61% of the near-term — so let’s again up. So our near-term deliberate broadband footprint, by near-term, I imply between now and say 2025, okay nicely we’re close to to medium time period in case you desire. We have got sort of 10 million that is in that deliberate footprint over that point horizon. We’re 61% achieved as we speak with fiber. 71%, 72% achieved on the finish of this yr with fiber. For these prospects who’re on — within the fiber footprint and who take Web and TV, 91% of these are on fiber.

Vince Valentini

Proper. Which implies the variety of mixed Web and TV prospects you’ve in your non-fiber footprint is kind of low. Is that is what you are attempting to emphasise that you simply — the incremental danger of shedding these subs till you have upgraded is fairly small?

Mirko Bibic

No. I am not — so actually what I am attempting to emphasise, however let’s go there. So clearly, the place now we have fiber we’re outperforming. And in case you sort of take our footprint from Manitoba all the way in which to Atlantic Canada and also you see our spectacular Web internet provides. We’re gaining important share in fiber. And relying on the state of our non-fiber footprint whether or not or not it is ATM or FTTN et cetera there are places and takes there when it comes to the efficiency, however that is a operate of the community expertise. What I am saying — what I am — in order that’s one level which I believe is what you are getting at. What I am attempting to emphasise with the 91% is we’re nicely positioned to essentially starting — to essentially start leaning in on copper decommissioning, notably within the residential phase. So I believe 2022 is the yr the place you see us decide up the tempo on decommissioning and positioning — to place ourselves for a transparent multiyear highway map on that entrance.

Vince Valentini

Glad I clarified that. Thanks for emphasizing. And if I can simply on mounted wi-fi only one follow-up query. You clearly have a fantastic head begin and kudos to getting to 1 million properties handed already and I believe you are doing fairly nicely on sub advertisements in these areas. Good for society, but in addition good for what you are promoting. However different gamers appear to be now desirous to get into that area. Are you able to speak somewhat bit about the way you shield that buyer base, how sticky they’re? Are there contracts used for these prospects, or have they got important upfront tools or set up prices that may act as a barrier to them switching?

Mirko Bibic

Look I am going to put up our Wi-fi Dwelling Web product in opposition to anybody. So I believe finally, it’ll be a operate of the community high quality, the speeds that you simply provide and the customer support that you simply provide together with it. So — and the truth that we’re there in areas the place — in these areas the place we have been there first as a result of there is no one else. I believe the first-mover benefit is essential. And there are some areas, in that a million family footprint Vince, the place we really weren’t first.

There may need been one other competitor there smaller cable competitor, for instance. So being third or fourth out there goes to be actually troublesome. So in these areas we’re taking share however we have been second to market. We could also be providing quicker speeds. Being third fourth, goes to be robust. So I believe actually, it is first-mover benefit. It is the sort of credibility you purchase with the group by having related that group and it is the customer support and the standard of the community. So, that package deal is what is going on to permit us to proceed to win.

Vince Valentini

Truthful sufficient. Thanks.

Mirko Bibic

We’ve time for one final query.


It’s excellent. And the final query is from Simon Flannery from Morgan Stanley. Please go forward.

Simon Flannery

Nice. Thanks very a lot. Good morning. One other sturdy quarter on the wi-fi aspect proceed to have a very good momentum year-over-year. I might like to unpack the outlook for 2022. How are you fascinated about the general wi-fi alternative and the snapback from COVID inhabitants development family formation market share, in that — within the steerage assumption? Do you assume we proceed at comparable ranges to 2022, or is there some sure concern within the US a couple of sort of a deceleration after some superb quarters? Any coloration there about what’s driving the {industry} development and your development and the way sustainable that’s?

Mirko Bibic

Okay. Nice query. I am going to take it and I am going to take it sort of in two phases. So first simply industry-wide. I believe it is — I imply it is wanting like a robust steadiness This autumn throughout the {industry} so based mostly on the outcomes which have been launched to date. And I see some good development and robust upside for the {industry} due to immigration, reopening to extra customary ranges in Canada, the roaming upside that we’re seeing since November that is sort of holding. I believe provide chain points ought to start to ease within the second half of the yr. I believe the shop constraints — it isn’t fairly as constrained because it was a yr in the past.

And I believe, sort of the restrictions we’re in now will start to ease. So I believe industry-wide that is wanting pretty good. Now, I believe it is price mentioning the place we sit competitively inside that. And also you see it in our sturdy service income development and our ARPU development. And we all know why in our case there’s the cell phone technique specializing in high-quality smartphone loadings. Nevertheless it’s greater than that, proper? As a result of now we have — throughout the cell phone technique, we’re targeted on premium model premium community throughout the cell phone technique. And I believe that is driving our outcomes.

And in This autumn, we had heavy year-over-year development on the Bell model. And I believe that is vital. In the event you take a look at our 6.3% service income development nearly all of that got here from natural efficiency not roaming, which can be fairly optimistic. And I imply I am going to go away you with this thought everybody. The launch of the brand new plans this week the limitless Final plans. We received — I actually wish to spotlight these as a result of that is how we will differentiate 4G from 5G and spotlight our community superiority. So that you sort of differentiate pay as you go from postpaid.

You wish to differentiate flanker out of your premium model, and then you definitely wish to differentiate your 4G out of your 5G companies. So now with limitless Final now we have the larger information, the buckets, the upper video high quality. We’re together with content material and on the content material it is nice cell, so we’re paying ourselves basically. So now you begin to showcase the incremental capabilities of 5G, and also you encourage folks to up-tier to maneuver up their charge plan curve, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. And I believe that is a great tailwind for 5G momentum within the wi-fi phase notably for vulnerability.

Simon Flannery


Richard Bengian

Thanks once more on your participation on the decision this morning. We’ll be obtainable all through the day for any follow-up questions or clarifications. Have a great remainder of the day.

Mirko Bibic


Glen LeBlanc

Thanks, everybody.


Thanks. The convention has now ended. Please disconnect your strains presently and we thanks on your participation.

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