(Toronto) The head of Rogers Communications said Thursday the company is well ahead of schedule on its cost-cutting plan, about six months after its $26 billion merger with Shaw.

Rogers, which completed its takeover of Shaw in early April after receiving final regulatory approval from Ottawa, sought to reduce duplicative costs as the companies integrated with each other.

“Impressively, after six months, we are six months ahead of our synergy targets and our deleveraging plans,” said Rogers President and CEO Tony Staffieri during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s third quarter results.

“We consolidated our retail footprint, rebranded our corporate retail stores and began selling wireless and residential services in our retail channels. What’s more, we have largely integrated both teams and we operate with a clear goal and plan. »

Chief Financial Officer Glenn Brandt announced that the company achieved “significant” cost savings of approximately $140 million during the third quarter, as Rogers nearly completed its process of consolidating Shaw’s departments and employees to within its own structures.

This is in addition to savings of $48 million in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date total to $188 million heading into the final three months of 2023.

Rogers hoped to save $200 million from the merger by the end of the year.

“We now expect more than 360 million synergies to be realized in calendar year 2023, which is 80% larger than we had first anticipated,” Brandt emphasized.

“We are seeing strong revenue synergies with our cable and wireless growth in the West. »

The company began offering voluntary separation packages to some employees in July, as part of its integration with Shaw. She explained in an internal memo at the time that employees eligible for the voluntary departure program included “most employees across the company and business lines” up to the level of senior company directors. .

Rogers also confirmed that month that a “small percentage” of employees had left the company involuntarily since the merger with Shaw, but did not say how many of them were affected by the voluntary departure program or by other cuts.

Mr. Brandt recalled that Rogers was still targeting total annual savings of approximately $1 billion from the Shaw merger.

Its objective will now be to find efficiency gains through the negotiation of contracts with suppliers and by reducing the costs of multimedia content.

Last month, Rogers announced the closure of its CityNews Ottawa radio station and the layoff of nearly 10 newsroom staff, citing declining audiences and regulatory challenges.

Rogers Communications posted a third-quarter net loss on Thursday, notably due to a charge related to one of its investments in a joint venture. The telecommunications group said it lost $99 million, or 20 cents per share, for the quarter ended September 30, compared with a profit of $371 million, or 71 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. early.

The most recent quarter’s results included a $422 million loss related to Rogers’ obligation to purchase, at fair value, its non-controlling interest in one of its joint ventures.

On an adjusted basis, Rogers reported earning $1.27 per share in the third quarter, compared to a profit of 84 cents per share in the same period last year.

Quarterly revenues totaled $5.09 billion, up from $3.74 billion in the previous third quarter.

Rogers said its wireless subscriber base recorded a net gain of 261,000 in its most recent quarter — its best result in its history — including 225,000 net additions of postpaid mobile subscribers, a an increase of 61% compared to the addition of 164,000 subscribers for the same period last year.

Analyst Drew McReynolds of RBC Capital Markets said Rogers delivered “strong” results that beat analysts’ forecasts, “largely driven by wireless.”

“Given good results, an acceleration in the timing of realized synergies and the reiteration of guidance for 2023, we view the results as positive for the shares at current levels,” he explained in a note.

Rogers’ monthly churn rate for net postpaid mobile subscribers was 1.08%, up from 0.97% in the previous third quarter.

Rogers’ average monthly revenue per mobile user was $58.83, an increase of 3.5% from the third quarter of the previous year. The company attributed the year-over-year difference to credits issued to customers last year, following the July 2022 grid outage.

The net increase in the number of internet subscribers was 18,000 for the quarter, an increase of 12,000 compared to last year.