Bell Aliant Q3 profit falls $22M to $59M on costs associated with takeover by BCE

HALIFAX – Bell Aliant Inc. (TSX:BA) has reported a big decrease in third-quarter earnings, citing costs associated with its impending takeover by BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), which plans to take the company private.

The Halifax-based regional telecom says net earnings were $59 million or 26 cents per share, down from $81 million or 35 cents in the comparable year earlier period, “driven by an increase in financial advisory, professional and consulting fees and other costs associated with the privatization transaction.”

Earlier this month, BCE and Bell Aliant announced that more than 90 per cent of publicly held common shares had been tendered under the $3.95-billion takeover bid. BCE has since begun a compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares not tendered to the offer, with privatization expected to be completed Oct. 31.

“As a result of the privatization, the regular quarterly dividends for the third and fourth quarters of 2014 that would have been declared on Bell Aliant common shares will not be declared,” the company said Thursday.

The company is also withdrawing is previously issued 2014 guidance, it said.

Operating revenues in the third quarter were $698 million, up $3 million or half a per cent year over year as growth in Internet, TV, other data and wireless revenues was partially offset by declines in local, long-distance and other revenues.