BCE’s third-quarter profit, revenue down from year ago as pandemic continues to weigh


TORONTO — BCE Inc.’s third-quarter profit was down 20 per cent compared with a year ago as its revenue also edged lower due to the COVID pandemic’s impact on its business and its customers.

However, the Montreal-based parent of Bell Canada showed improvement from the second quarter.

“Our focus in Q3 was all about building momentum back into the business. And although the effects of COVID are still obviously present, I’m very pleased with our progress to date,” chief executive Mirko Bibic told analysts Thursday.

He said Bell experienced a notable improvement in operating performance due to the success of its expanded broadband communications network, the reopening of retail stores and the return of live sports programming.

Operating revenue totalled $5.79 billion, down 2.6 per cent from $5.94 billion a year ago.

BCE attributed the revenue drop to the impact of COVID-19 on media advertising, wireless roaming volumes and reduced or delayed spending by business customers.

The group earned a profit attributable to common shareholders of $692 million or 77 cents per share, down from $867 million or 96 cents per share a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, BCE says it earned $712 million or 79 cents per share, down from an adjusted profit of $812 million or 91 cents per share in the third quarter of 2019.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 77 cents per share and $5.71 billion in revenue, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.