MONTREAL — Quebecor Inc. reported a $131.6-million profit for the first quarter and a 2.7 per cent increase in revenue compared with the same time last year despite feeling the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown.
The telecommunications and media company, which operates the Videotron internet and wireless business and the TVA broadcasting network, said Thursday its network successfully absorbed a substantial increase in traffic since the crisis began.
Chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau said Quebecor helped its customers stay connected during the pandemic, by removing data caps on internet services and opening access to a news channel.
The company said Thursday approximately 10 per cent of its workforce is now receiving benefits under its supplemental assistance program, which tops up the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
It has also set up a $500,000 fund for its sports and entertainment employees, contributors and freelancers.
Quebecor’s net income attributable to shareholders amounted to 52 cents per share for the quarter, down from $189.0 million or 74 cents from last year, which included a $97.2-million gain from selling a business unit.
Adjusted income from continuing operations was $111.5 million or 44 cents per share, about the same as the same time last year.
Revenue was $1.06 billion, up from nearly $1.03 billion. The telecommunications segment contributed $34 million of the increase.
Analysts had estimated 43 cents per share of adjusted earnings, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B)
The Canadian Press