Grocer Metro Gains, Loss of Sports Hits Rogers: Canada Earnings


(Bloomberg) -- Revenue at grocery chain Metro Inc. jumped while Rogers Communications Inc. withdrew guidance as the coronavirus pandemic leaves its mark on Canadian first quarter earnings.

Here’s a look at the latest results from Canada Inc. as nationwide lockdowns began in March, shuttering restaurants and stores and throwing millions of Canadians out of work:

Click here for more information on the companies that reported yesterday

Metro Inc., 7 a.m. E.T.

The grocery chain benefited from a surge in sales as Canadians stocked their pantries in March. With restaurants closed, fiscal second quarter revenue jumped 7.8% to C$3.99 billion ($2.82 billion) from the prior year. The company estimated C$125 million of its C$287 million sales gain was due to the pandemic.

The Montreal-based company saw earnings per share surge 47% to C$0.69 with Covid-19 representing a net increase in profit of about C$0.03 Canadian cents per share.

Rogers Communications Inc., 7 a.m.

The telco company said first quarter earnings per share fell to C$0.71 compared with C$0.78 in 2019. Its revenue also slipped by about 5% to C$3.42 billion, largely driven by a 17% decrease in wireless equipment sales as closed stores reduced subscriber activity.

Lower roaming revenue also weighed as the Toronto-based company provided services to customers for free and people hunkered down and stayed at home. Continued adoption of its unlimited data plans cut overage revenue.

The suspension of major sports leagues led to lower advertising sales and sports revenue, with sales dropping 12%. The company owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and the Rogers Center entertainment venue as well as a 37.5% stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., which owns teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC.

Rogers withdrew its 2020 guidance originally released in January. “Although we expect Covid-19 to adversely impact total service revenue and adjusted EBITDA in the short-term, strong free cash flow remains a priority for us this year,” Rogers said in its statement.

The company declared a dividend of C$0.50 per share on Tuesday.

Preliminary Results

Enerplus Corp. cut its 2020 capital expenditure program further by about 8% to C$300 million. In January, it had planned to spend C$520 million to C$570 million.

The oil and gas company also withdrew its annual forecasts and suspended its share buyback program, which expired last month. It expects first quarter production to be about 98,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The firm will hold a conference call to discuss its corporate update at 11 a.m. E.T.

Choice REIT, After Market

Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, whose principal tenant is Loblaw Cos. Ltd., is slated to report results later today. Earlier this month, the real estate company said it’s well-positioned to weather the market volatility, having strengthened its balance sheet since the beginning of 2019, including refinancing its unsecured debt.

On Tuesday, its peer RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust withdrew same property net operating income guidance for 2020 due to the coronavirus.

The landlord had approved about C$15 million of rent deferrals as of April 20, representing about 17% of its its gross rents for the month. The mall operator had collected about 66% of expected April gross rents. It will provide further updates during its first quarter conference call scheduled for May 5.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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