An impressive quarter has Echelon Wealth Partners analyst Rob Goff feeling bullish about Quebecor (Quebecor Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:QBR.B).
In an earnings update to clients on Friday, Goff reasserted his “Buy” rating and raised his target price from $38.00 to $39.00, saying the telco’s typically strong execution has led to modest price target upgrades in now 12 of the last 13 quarters.
Quebecor released its third quarter results on Thursday, with president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau praising the company’s Vidéotron telecom segment.
“Videotron remains our main growth driver and we are particularly proud of its excellent performance this quarter since we successfully launched our new Helix technological platform at the end of August 2019. Based on our partner Comcast Corporation’s Xfinity X1 platform, Helix already had more than 30,000 subscribers barely five weeks after launch. It is a concrete example of Quebecor’s vision, commitment to investing in forward-looking projects and ability to skillfully execute on its business strategies, while maintaining sound management of its balance sheet,” Péladeau wrote in a press release.
In its Q3, Quebecor beat estimates with its EBITDA at $467.7 million, an 8.0-per-cent year-over-year improvement, but came in under expectations for revenue with $876.7 million, a 2.6-per-cent increase year-over-year.
Goff and the consensus were calling for revenue of $902 million and $882 million, respectively, and for EBITDA of $450 million and $452 million, respectively.
Goff notes the strong growth from Quebecor’s mobile telephony business, which grew by 12.6 per cent from a year earlier, attributed mostly to an increase in net subscriber additions. Cable television revenue was down 2.2 per cent year-over-year and cable telephony dropped 7.3 per cent.
The analyst points out that Quebecor grew its wireless market share for gross activations from roughly 22 to 23 per cent at Q1 2018 to now 30 per cent, benefiting from the launch of the company’s low-cost mobile brand Fizz, which debuted last fall.
“The success of Fizz builds to QBR’s long history of new product/service outperformance,” writes Goff. “The successful August launch of its Helix platform and the more recent introduction of 100 Gigabit overage reserves rather than unlimited service packages are two further examples of the company’s marketing prowess and service innovation. We apologize for sounding like an advertisement, but the positive evidence is clear.”
Concerning valuation, the analyst says that Quebecor’s wireless should add about $0.70 per share in EBITDA over the next three years with its equity leverage at about $5-6 per share based on a 7-8x EV/EBITDA multiple or roughly 14-16 per cent of its current equity per share.
Goff has moved his 2019 estimates down by $64 million for revenue and up by $17 million for EBITDA, while his 2020 estimates have moved down $250 million for revenue and up $23 million for EBITDA.
The analysts’ $39.00 target price represented a projected return of 26.7 per cent as of press time. QBR’s share price climbed almost four per cent over Thursday and Friday and now sits up 10.4 per cent for 2019.
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