Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. Announces Change of Auditors for 2014

Stock symbol: MBT

WINNIPEG, Dec. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (TSX: MBT) ("MTS Allstream" or the "Company") today announced that its Audit Committee has completed a comprehensive request-for-proposal (RFP) process for audit services. The process was undertaken with the primary objectives of evaluating the expertise available to the Company's Board of Directors and the market cost of the Company's audit services under a competitive process.

The Audit Committee conducted the RFP process over the past five months, in which the senior leadership of Canada's four largest audit firms presented compelling proposals, making available significant telecom experience and local, national and global expertise.  At the conclusion of the highly competitive process, the Board of Directors (on the recommendation of the Audit Committee) has unanimously determined to commence the process of changing the Company's auditor to Ernst & Young LLP. Ernst & Young LLP has an impressive list of telecom clients around the world and brings the right mix of audit, strategic and global telecom industry expertise and insights for the exciting next phase in the history of the Company.

The Company's existing auditors, Deloitte LLP, had been the Company's auditors and trusted advisors since 1987.  Deloitte is expected to formally resign as auditor on completion of the audit and related filings for the Company's financial year ended December 31, 2013. Ernst & Young LLP is then expected be formally appointed as auditor to fill the resulting vacancy, and will also be proposed for appointment as auditor at the Company's upcoming annual shareholders' meeting.  There were no disagreements with Deloitte on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedure for the period in which Deloitte provided auditing services, including any "reportable event", as defined in National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations. Indeed, the relationship with Deloitte has been very positive and professional over the years.

"This has been a very positive process leading to a highly successful outcome. Our new relationship with Ernst & Young LLP is expected to benefit the Board, management and the Company's shareholders," said Pierre Blouin, Chief Executive Officer. "This process required the entire Audit Committee to invest a significant amount of their time and expertise, for which we are grateful." 

The Audit Committee, on behalf of the Board of Directors, would like to thank Deloitte for its services and contributions to MTS Allstream and its shareholders. It also thanks all the other firms that participated in the process for the time, effort and thought they put into their high quality proposals and their strong interest in contributing to the continued success of our Company. 

Forward-looking statements disclaimer
This news release includes forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements with respect to the anticipated formal resignation of Deloitte upon conclusion of the year end audit and all related matters, the subsequent formal appointment of Ernst & Young LLP and the proposed appointment of Ernst & Young LLP at the Company's upcoming annual shareholders' meeting. Examples of statements that constitute forward-looking information may be identified by words such as "believe", "expect", "project", "should", "anticipate", "could", "target", "forecast", "intend", "plan", "outlook", "see", "set", "pending", and other similar terms. All forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbour provisions of applicable Canadian securities legislation.

Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. As a consequence, actual results in the future may differ materially from any forward-looking conclusion, forecast or projection, whether expressed or implied. Therefore, forward-looking statements should be considered carefully and undue reliance should not be placed on them.

Please note that forward-looking statements in this news release reflect Management's expectations as at December 23, 2013 and thus, are subject to change thereafter. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, matters identified in the "Risks and uncertainties" section and elsewhere in the Company's third-quarter 2013 interim MD&A and the Company's 2012 annual MD&A, which are available on the Company's website at  www.mtsallstream.com/investors and on the SEDAR website.

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS Allstream)
MTS Allstream is one of Canada's leading national communication solutions companies, providing innovative communications for the way Canadians live and work today. The company has more than 100 years of experience, with approximately 5,000 employees across Canada. MTS Allstream's business is dynamic and consists of two operating divisions. In Manitoba, MTS is the leading full-service telecommunications provider for residential and business customers.

MTS's suite of services includes the latest in wireless technology, broadband services, IPTV, voice services, home security, and an extensive range of business solutions. Across Canada, Allstream is a leader in IP communications and is the only national provider that focuses exclusively on the business telecommunications market. MTS Allstream has nearly two million customer connections spanning business customers across Canada and residential consumers throughout the province of Manitoba. The Company's extensive national fibre optic network spans more than 30,000 kilometres. MTS Allstream has spent 12 consecutive years on the Jantzi Social Index for leadership in social responsibility and is the recipient of the 2011 Governance Gavel Award from the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, recognizing clear and effective public disclosure and leading governance practices.

MTS Allstream's common shares are listed on the TSX (trading symbol: MBT). Customers, stakeholders and investors who want to learn more about MTS Allstream are encouraged to visit: www.mtsallstream.com.

For more information about MTS's products and services, please visit www.mts.ca. For more information about Allstream's products and services, please visit www.allstream.com.

SOURCE MTS Allstream

For further information:

Investors:   
Paul Peters, Investor Relations
204-941-6178
investor.relations@mtsallstream.com

Media:  
Chelsea Ross, Corporate Communications
204-958-3230
media.relations@mtsallstream.com