Bell Aliant reports third quarter results and announces long-term agreement with Bell Canada



    HALIFAX, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - Bell Aliant Regional Communications Income Fund
(Bell Aliant or the Fund)(1) (TSX: BA.UN) today reported distributions to its
unitholders of $92.1 million or $0.725 per unit for the quarter ended
September 30, 2008. Bell Aliant also announced that it has entered into a
long-term agreement with Bell Canada (Bell) to provide an enhanced transport
network connecting Bell Mobility's cell sites in Atlantic Canada and regions
of Ontario and Quebec. This investment will add "HSPA" technology to the
existing network, and support Bell's nation-wide migration to Long Term
Evolution (LTE) technology, the fourth generation (4G) global wireless
standard.

    
    Bell Aliant Holdings LP's third quarter financial highlights(2)(3) are as
    follows:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Per-                           Per-
    (In millions        Q3      Q3  centage         YTD       YTD   centage
     of dollars)      2008    2007   Change        2008      2007    Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating
     Revenue        $815.3  $808.5      0.8%   $2,468.8  $2,434.2       1.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EBITDA(4)        371.0   369.8      0.3%    1,085.3   1,072.8       1.2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Capital
     Expenditures    138.8   139.7     (0.6%)     361.4     398.0      (9.2%)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Distributable
     Cash(5)         179.3   177.6      1.0%      569.4     531.9       7.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "I am pleased with our third quarter performance," said Stephen Wetmore,
President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our results are in line with our
expectations, strongly positioning us to deliver on our stated objectives, and
continue to demonstrate the stability of our operations."

    Highlights of the third quarter of 2008 include the following:

    - Operating revenue increased $6.8 million (0.8 per cent) in the third
      quarter of 2008 compared to the same period a year ago with growth in
      Information Technology (IT) and Internet revenues offsetting declines
      in local, long distance and other revenues.
    - Internet revenue grew by $11.7 million (13.6 per cent) in the third
      quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, with high-speed
      Internet subscriber growth of 12.4 per cent and residential high-speed
      average revenue per subscriber (ARPC) growth of 6.9 per cent.
    - IT revenue increased by $15.0 million (29.5 per cent) in the quarter
      compared to the same period last year, with increases in services
      revenue and equipment sales of $7.2 million and $7.8 million
      respectively.
    - Local service and long distance revenue declined by $4.9 million
      (1.4 per cent) and $7.7 million (6.2 per cent), respectively, in the
      third quarter of 2008 compared to the third quarter in 2007, with
      network access services (NAS) 3.4 per cent lower than a year ago. Local
      service revenue in the quarter included a $2.4 million one-time
      favourable adjustment arising from retroactive contribution revenues.
    - EBITDA increased $1.2 million (0.3 per cent) in the third quarter of
      2008 compared to the third quarter of 2007, with cost containment and
      productivity programs continuing to offset the effects of a changing
      revenue mix. EBITDA margin was 45.5 per cent in the third quarter, down
      slightly from 45.7 per cent for the same period in 2007.
    - Capital expenditures in the third quarter were $138.8 million, down
      $0.9 million (0.6 per cent) from the same quarter a year ago.
    - Distributable cash increased $1.7 million (1.0 per cent) in the third
      quarter of 2008 from the same period 2007, resulting from EBITDA growth
      and reduced capital expenditures.

    The HSPA network is expected to be fully operational by 2010. With
approximately $25 million of new capital expenditures now planned for 2008,
Bell Aliant's previously issued 2008 guidance ranges for capital intensity and
distributable cash have been revised.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2008                      Issued                    Revision
    Guidance                  August 2008               October 2008
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating                 $3,240 million to         no change
     Revenue                  $3,310 million
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Capital                   14.5 to 15.5%             15.5 to 16.5%
     Intensity(6)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Distributable             $720 million to           $700 million to
    Cash                      $740 million              $720 million
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Analyst conference call

    A conference call with the financial community is scheduled for Wednesday,
October 29, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern). The dial-in numbers are (866)
299-6657 or (416) 641-6121 for Toronto area participants. Media are invited to
attend in a listen-only mode. The title of the call is "Bell Aliant Third
Quarter 2008 Financial Results." A replay of the session can be heard from
October 30 to November 12, 2008. To access the replay, dial (800) 408-3053 or
(416) 695-5800 and enter the passcode 3270919#.
    A live audio webcast of the conference call can be accessed on
www.bell.aliant.ca under the Investor Relations section. A replay of the
conference call will be available on the website for one year.

    Forward-looking Statements

    This news release contains forward-looking statements concerning
anticipated future events, results, circumstances or expectations, including
statements relating to the proposed increase in capital expenditures to
enhance the transport network connecting Bell Mobility's cell sites in Bell
Aliant territory and the associated adjustments to Bell Aliant's 2008 annual
guidance. Unless otherwise indicated, such forward-looking statements describe
management's expectations at October 28, 2008. These statements are based on
management's beliefs regarding future events, many of which, by their nature
are inherently uncertain and beyond management's control. These statements are
not guarantees of future performance and are subject to numerous risks and
uncertainties which are difficult to predict and assumptions which may prove
to be inaccurate.
    Many factors could cause results or events to differ materially from
current expectations. A number of assumptions are also made in making
forward-looking statements, such as economic assumptions, market assumptions,
financial and operational assumptions and assumptions about the execution of
certain transactions. Please refer to Bell Aliant's Notice Concerning
Forward-looking Statements dated February 5, 2008, as well as the Fund's and
Bell Aliant Holdings LP's management's discussion and analysis and annual
information forms for the year ended December 31, 2007, as updated by the
Fund's and Bell Aliant Holdings LP's management's discussion and analysis for
the first, second and third quarters of 2008, which are available at
www.bell.aliant.ca or at www.sedar.com, for a detailed discussion of these key
risk factors and assumptions.
    Should any factor impact Bell Aliant in an unexpected manner, or should
assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, the
actual results or events may differ materially from the results or events
predicted. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release
are qualified by these cautionary statements, and there can be no assurance
that the results or developments anticipated by Bell Aliant will be realized
or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected
consequences for Bell Aliant.
    Except as may be required by Canadian securities laws, Bell Aliant
disclaims any intention and assumes no obligation to update or revise any
forward-looking statement even if new information becomes available, as a
result of future events or for any other reason. Readers should not place
undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements
are provided for the purpose of providing information about management's
current expectations and plans. Readers are cautioned that such information
may not be appropriate for other purposes.

    About Bell Aliant

    Bell Aliant (TSX: BA.UN) is one of North America's largest regional
communications providers. Through its operating entities it serves customers
in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and
technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added
business solutions. Through its xwave offices, Bell Aliant also provides IT
professional services in Canada and the US. Bell Aliant's 10,000 employees are
committed to deliver the highest quality of customer service, choice and
convenience.

    -----------------------------------
    (1) Bell Aliant derives all of its income from its indirect ownership in
        Bell Aliant Regional Communications Holdings, Limited Partnership
        (Bell Aliant Holdings LP). Bell Aliant Holdings LP's results combine
        the results of Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited
        Partnership (Bell Aliant LP), Télébec, Limited Partnership (Télébec)
        and NorthernTel, Limited Partnership (NorthernTel).
    (2) On February 1, 2008, Bell Aliant Holdings LP completed the
        acquisition of the assets and operations of Kenora Municipal
        Telephone System (KMTS). Bell Aliant Holdings LP's financial results
        and subscriber metrics include KMTS data from that date onward.
    (3) In the second and third quarters of 2008, Bell Aliant adopted
        discontinued operations presentation for its Atlantic Mobility
        Products Limited Partnership (AMP) and its Defence, Security and
        Aerospace (DSA) businesses, respectively. Prior period information
        has been reclassified to reflect these changes.
    (4) Bell Aliant defines EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, as operating revenue
        less expenses (earnings) before interest, income taxes, depreciation
        and amortization expense, net benefit plans cost, and restructuring
        and other charges.
    (5) Bell Aliant defines distributable cash, a non-GAAP measure, as cash
        from operating activities of continuing and discontinued operations
        and of the Fund, plus operating items funded through cash reserves or
        borrowings, such as working capital, pension deficit funding,
        restructuring and other charges and cash capital taxes in excess of
        normalized levels, plus amounts for current income tax provisions
        plus other elements of working capital changes that do not affect
        cash flow, less capital expenditures.
    (6) Bell Aliant defines capital intensity, a non-GAAP measure, as capital
        expenditures divided by operating revenues.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Relations: Kelly Gallant, (866) 762-6540,
kelly.gallant@bell.aliant.ca; Investor Relations: Zeda Redden, (877) 487-5726,
zeda.redden@bell.aliant.ca

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