Rogers Communications’s third-quarter earnings report on Thursday is bound to be overshadowed by tensions between members of the founding family over the leadership of the Canadian telecommunications conglomerate.
The publicity generated by the boardroom spat is rare in the Canadian corporate landscape and has surprised analysts at a time when Rogers is trying to strengthen its position in Canada’s saturated telecommunications market with a C$20 billion ($16.2 billion) takeover bid for smaller rival Shaw Communications.
The deal has drawn much criticism from various state regulators over whether it will reduce competition.
Rogers is also suffering from the sudden departure of chief financial officer Tony Staffieri last September, after Chairman Edward Rogers, son of the late company founder Ted Rogers, made a failed bid to replace CEO Joe Natale – a move that went against his sister and deputy chairman Melinda Rogers-Hixon.
Scott Rattee, senior vice president at DBRS Morningstar, said he was surprised by the disagreement and stressed that the credit ratings agency had recently improved Rogers’ credit outlook, in part due to Natalie’s leadership.
The poor performance of Rogers stock price has also unsettled investors, with Rogers shares up a disappointing 3% this year, well below the nearly 14% gains at Telus Corp and a 16% rise at BCE Inc.
Chairman Edward Rogers said there was “room for improvement” in the company’s long-term performance after reporting that he had held talks with potential candidates to succeed board members.
Rogers is chairman of Rogers Control Trust, the majority shareholder of Rogers Communications, and chairman of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, which is owned by Rogers, as well as a board member of the company, which owns the city’s professional basketball, hockey and football clubs.
The Canadian company is forecast to increase revenues by 0.4% to C$3.68 billion from C$3.67 billion a year ago, according to the average estimate of 9 analysts based on Refinitiv data, while earnings per share are expected to fall to C $1.02, from C $1.08 a year ago.