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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

BCE reports 2012 Q4 and full-year results

February 7, 2013

2013 financial outlook announced, including dividend increase to $2.33
per year

        --  BCE Q4 net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $708
            million, up 45.7%, or $0.91 per share; Adjusted net earnings
            per share(1) of $0.65, up 4.8%
        --  Bell EBITDA(2) up 2.2% in Q4 on robust 13.8% growth at Bell
            Wireless and 32.3% growth at Bell Media
        --  Q4 Wireless postpaid net additions of 143,834, up 9%; Wireless
            EBITDA growth of 13.8% fuelled by 4.1% higher wireless ARPU and
            disciplined cost control
        --  Bell Fibe TV net additions of 48,234 in Q4 as service footprint
            expands to 3.3 million households; 3% year-over-year
            improvement in residential local access line losses
        --  All 2012 financial guidance met - EBITDA growth of 4.4% exceeds
            full-year target on strong contributions from Bell Wireless and
            Bell Media
        --  Strong 7% growth in free cash flow(3) in 2012 to $2,420
            million, before a $750 million voluntary pension plan
            contribution
        --  2013 outlook builds on positive operating momentum and focused
            execution of Bell Strategic Imperatives, supporting dividend
            growth and accelerated capital investment

MONTREAL, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE),
Canada’s largest communications company, today reported BCE and Bell
results for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2012 and announced its financial
guidance for 2013, as well as a $0.06 per share increase in its annual
common share dividend to $2.33.

Today’s dividend announcement represents BCE’s ninth increase to the
annual common share dividend, representing a 60% overall increase since
the fourth quarter of 2008. The BCE annual common share dividend will
increase from $2.27 to $2.33 per share effective with BCE’s Q1 2013
dividend, payable on April 15, 2013 to shareholders of record at the
close of business on March 15, 2013. Together with the earlier $0.10
per share increase announced on August 8, 2012, BCE’s annual common
share dividend increase for 2013 is up 16 cents or 7.4%. The higher
dividend for 2013 is supported by substantial free cash flow generation
and our positive business outlook for 2013.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
BCE reported Q4 2012 net earnings attributable to common shareholders of
$708 million, or $0.91 per share, a 45.7% increase from $486 million,
or $0.62 per share, in Q4 2011. Adjusted net earnings( )attributable to common shareholders were $506 million, an increase of
4.5% compared to Q4 2011, while Adjusted earnings per share (EPS)
increased 4.8% to $0.65 from $0.62 in Q4 2011. The year-over-year
increase in Adjusted EPS was mainly due to higher EBITDA, which
exceeded plan in the quarter.

BCE’s cash flows from operating activities were $863 million in Q4, up
3.0% compared to $838 million last year, due to higher net earnings.
Free cash flow this quarter, before a $750 million voluntary pension
plan contribution, was $605 million, up 7.3% from $564 million in Q4
2011 on higher EBITDA year over year.


    ($ millions except per Q4 2012 Q4 2011 % change   2012   2011 % change
    share amounts)
    (unaudited)

    Bell (i)                                                              

    Operating Revenues       4,577   4,576        - 17,642 17,133     3.0%

    EBITDA                   1,582   1,548     2.2%  6,591  6,312     4.4%

    BCE                                                                   

    Operating Revenues       5,161   5,166   (0.1%) 19,975 19,497     2.5%

    EBITDA                   1,896   1,869     1.4%  7,883  7,629     3.3%

    Net Earnings               708     486    45.7%  2,624  2,221    18.1%
    Attributable to Common
    Shareholders

    EPS                       0.91    0.62    46.8%   3.39   2.88    17.7%

    Adjusted EPS              0.65    0.62     4.8%   3.18   3.13     1.6%

    Cash flows from            863     838     3.0%  5,552  4,869    14.0%
    operating activities

    Free Cash Flow (ii)        605     564     7.3%  2,420  2,261     7.0%

    (i)  Bell includes the Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline and Bell Media
         segments.

    (ii) Excluding $750 million of voluntary pension contribution for 2012
         and 2011

Bell operating revenues were $4,577 million in Q4 2012, compared to
$4,576 million in Q4 2011, as higher year-over-year revenues driven by
the steadily growing contribution of Bell’s growth services, including
Wireless, TV, Internet and Media, were offset by the continued decline
in Bell Wireline’s traditional voice and data services.

Bell EBITDA was $1,582 million in Q4, up 2.2%, reflecting strong
double-digit EBITDA growth of 13.8% at Bell Wireless and 32.3% at Bell
Media. Bell Wireline’s EBITDA decline of 6.6% in the quarter benefitted
from a $35 million year-over-year reduction in Wireline operating
costs, which contributed to a 0.8 percentage-point improvement in
Bell’s consolidated EBITDA margin of 34.6%. For the full 2012 year,
Bell operating revenues and Bell EBITDA were up 3.0% and 4.4%,
respectively, at $17,642 million and $6,591 million. For 2011, Bell
operating revenues and EBITDA reflect 9 months of Bell Media revenues
and EBITDA, as Bell completed its acquisition of CTV and created Bell
Media on April 1, 2011.

Bell invested $779 million in new capital this quarter, bringing total
capital expenditures to $2,923 million in 2012, up 8.9% from the
previous year. These investments support the continued deployment of
broadband fibre to homes, neighbourhoods and businesses in Québec and
Ontario and expansion of the Fibe TV service footprint, enhancement of
customer service systems, the ongoing rollout of the 4G LTE mobile
network in markets across Canada, and the addition of new Bell and The
Source stores across Canada.

“Bell’s Q4 results capped off a solid year of strong operating
performance led by Bell Wireless, Bell Media, and the accelerating
success of Bell Fibe TV as we continued to expand our Fibe footprint in
Montréal and Toronto and launched the country’s largest fibre to the
home rollout in Québec City,” said George Cope, President and CEO of
Bell and BCE Inc. “Bell’s investment in Canada’s best broadband
networks, products and content is delivering new choices for consumers
and enhanced competition in TV, wireless and media. Bell has tremendous
momentum in the marketplace, propelled by the fast expansion of Fibe
TV, strong smartphone growth, and the unmatched innovation and
investment in Canadian news, sports and entertainment content by Bell
Media.”

“Growth services such as Fibe, 4G LTE, and next-generation business
services like cloud computing increasingly dominate our operating mix.
At the same time, the Bell team is delivering significant improvements
in customer service while reducing our operating costs. The strong
EBITDA, cash flow and net earnings that result from the focused
execution of our strategy enable us to continue to deliver on our
commitment to return value to our shareholders,” said Mr. Cope.

Bell is dedicated to achieving a clear goal – to be recognized by
customers as Canada’s leading communications company – through the
execution of 6 Strategic Imperatives: Invest in Broadband Networks and
Services, Accelerate Wireless, Leverage Wireline Momentum, Expand Media
Leadership, Improve Customer Service, and Achieve a Competitive Cost
Structure.

“We enjoyed a successful 2012, surpassing our full-year guidance target
for EBITDA which fuelled substantial earnings and strong free cash flow
growth,” said Siim Vanaselja, Chief Financial Officer for Bell and BCE.
“Bell’s operating momentum and financial foundation going into 2013 are
strong. Our 2013 financial targets are underpinned by continued robust
growth across Bell’s growth businesses and improving wireline
performance. This is expected to drive solid growth in underlying
earnings and a 5% or better year-over-year increase in free cash flow.
Our liquidity position and attractive credit profile fully supports our
planned accelerated investment in wireline and wireless broadband
network platforms and higher dividend for 2013.”

BELL OPERATING RESULTS BY SEGMENT

Bell Wireless
Bell Wireless operating revenues increased 6.8% to $1,458 million in Q4
2012. Service revenue grew 7.4% to $1,312 million on strong postpaid
subscriber growth and higher blended ARPU, fuelled by mobile data
revenue growth of 28% this quarter. Despite average handset prices that
were generally lower because of competitive holiday pricing, product
revenues increased 2.3% to $132 million, reflecting higher sales of
more expensive smartphones. Bell Wireless EBITDA increased 13.8% to
$479 million this quarter, delivering a 2 percentage-point expansion in
EBITDA service margin to 36.5%. This was achieved even with a $26
million year-over-year increase in combined subscriber acquisition
costs and retention spending, which contributed to operating cost
growth of 3.7% in the quarter.

For the full year, Bell Wireless operating revenues increased 6.5% to
$5,573 million with service revenues growing 6.5% to $5,081 million and
product revenues up 3.8% to $438 million. EBITDA grew 15.7% to $2,110
million as service margin increased 3.3 percentage points to 41.5%,
reflecting the significant service revenue flow-through of superior
postpaid subscriber gains achieved throughout the year and
well-controlled operating costs that increased 1.6%, in aggregate, over
the previous year.

        --  Postpaid net additions in Q4 increased to 143,834, up 9.0%
            compared to 131,986 last year. Smartphone users represented 64%
            of total postpaid subscribers at the end of 2012, compared to
            48% one year earlier.

        --  Postpaid gross activations were 394,706 in Q4, up 1.4% compared
            to 389,317 last year, led by strong sales of Apple iPhones and
            leading Android devices during the holiday period. Activations
            in western Canada continued to increase as Bell added more
            points of distribution.

        --  Prepaid net losses decreased to 38,829 in Q4, from 74,100 last
            year. Prepaid gross activations decreased 17.6% to 101,024, due
            to Bell's continued focus on acquiring postpaid customers and
            aggressive acquisition offers from competitors targeted at
            lower-ARPU subscribers.

        --  With postpaid additions of 143,834 and prepaid losses of
            38,829, the Bell Wireless client base reached 7,681,032 at the
            end of the quarter, an increase of 3.4% over last year.

        --  Postpaid customer churn improved to 1.3% from 1.5% in Q4 2011,
            reflecting the benefits of investment in customer service and
            retention. Prepaid churn improved to 3.5% this quarter from
            4.2% in Q4 2011, due to fewer customer deactivations year over
            year.

        --  Blended ARPU increased 4.1% in the quarter to $56.72, driven
            mainly by a greater number of postpaid customers in our
            subscriber base, increased postpaid market share in the
            higher-ARPU western Canada market, and more smartphone
            customers taking advantage of mobile data services. Similarly,
            for full-year 2012, blended ARPU increased 4.2% to $55.82.

        --  Cost of acquisition increased 6.7% this quarter to $480 per
            gross activation, reflecting a greater number of smartphone
            activations and higher handset subsidies consistent with the
            wider availability of the Apple iPhone 5 and competitive
            holiday pricing.

        --  Retention spending in the quarter increased to 12% of wireless
            service revenues, up from 11.4% in Q4 2011, as we matched
            competitors' aggressive handset offers.

        --  Bell continues to offer customers access to Canada's largest 4G
            LTE network, increasing population coverage by over 22% and
            adding 25 new markets in Q4, resulting in access for
            approximately 4 million additional Canadians. 4G LTE from Bell
            now reaches more than 67% of the Canadian population,
            complementing Bell's 4G HSPA+ and enhanced 4G HSPA+ DC (Dual
            Cell) networks which offer coast-to-coast coverage to more than
            97% and more than 83% of the Canadian population respectively.

Bell Wireline
The pace of wireline revenue erosion in Q4 2012 improved over the
previous quarter as a result of increased TV revenues, driven by fast
subscriber growth in Fibe TV and an improved local and access revenue
trajectory as residential NAS losses continued to decrease year over
year. Bell Wireline operating revenues decreased 3.7% to $2,608 million
this quarter, as competitive and wireless substitution pressures
continued to impact traditional voice services. Reduced spending by
business customers on wireline data products and information and
communications technology (ICT) services, reflecting continued slow
economic growth, as well as the re-pricing of connectivity services
also contributed to the year-over-year decline in Bell Wireline revenue
this quarter.

Although Bell Wireline EBITDA decreased 6.6% this quarter to $931
million, margins were in line with expectations at 35.7%, reflecting a
$35 million, or 2.0%, reduction in operating costs over last year from
ongoing spending controls and productivity gains achieved in our call
centres and field service operations. For the full 2012 year, wireline
operating revenues decreased 3.8% to $10,220 million, while wireline
EBITDA was down 5.7% to $3,920 million. Wireline EBITDA margin has held
relatively stable at 38.4%, down 0.7 percentage points year over year,
the result of a $166 million, or 2.6%, improvement in operating costs
that effectively absorbed expenses related to Fibe TV growth and softer
business markets results.

        --  Bell Fibe TV added 48,234 net new customers compared to 27,967
            in the fourth quarter of 2011. The Bell Fibe TV footprint
            expanded by 500,000 households in Q4 to reach 3.3 million at
            the end of 2012. Satellite TV net additions were negative in
            the quarter, reflecting aggressive customer conversion offers
            from cable competitors, the rollout of IPTV by competing
            service providers, and Bell customer migrations to Fibe TV.
            Consequently, total TV net additions were 19,218, compared to
            27,702 in Q4 2011.

        --  The Bell TV subscriber base totalled 2,155,983 at the end of
            Q4, a year-over-year increase of 2.5%.

        --  Bell added 7,143 new net high-speed Internet customers in Q4,
            compared to 1,091 customers in Q4 2011. The improvement
            reflects the pull-through effect of Fibe TV service bundles,
            enhanced promotional offers, and continued broadband fibre
            network expansion, all of which contributed to lower
            residential and business customer churn year over year. Bell
            had 2,115,243 high-speed Internet customers at the end of 2012,
            a 0.1% year-over-year increase.

        --  Wireline data revenue was $1,448 million in the quarter,
            compared to $1,450 million in Q4 2011, as higher TV revenue
            driven by strong Fibe TV subscriber growth was offset by lower
            data product and ICT sales.

        --  Residential NAS net losses in Q4 2012 decreased to 87,029, a
            3.0% improvement over the previous year, as Bell continued to
            reduce customer turnover as the Fibe TV service area expands.
            Wireless substitution, which continued to steadily increase,
            moderated the overall decrease in residential NAS. Business
            access losses increased to 36,641 from 13,947 in Q4 2011,
            reflecting higher wholesale customer deactivations and a
            continued lack of new business growth.

        --  Local and access revenues declined 7.6% to $635 million. Total
            NAS at the end of the quarter was 5,644,939, a 7.5% decline
            year over year, attributable to increased competition and a
            reduction in access lines and digital circuits as customers
            continue to adopt wireless and IP-based technologies.

        --  Long distance revenues declined 12.8% to $191 million. The
            year-over-year decline reflected fewer minutes of use by
            residential and business customers resulting from NAS line
            losses and technology substitution, ongoing rate pressures, and
            decreased sales of global long distance minutes.

        --  Equipment and other revenue decreased 6.3% to $255 million due
            mainly to lower year-over-year legacy wireline
            telecommunications equipment sales and promotional offers on TV
            set-top boxes.

Bell Media
Bell Media reported operating revenue of $591 million in Q4 2012, up
2.2% from last year. The increase was due to higher subscriber fee
revenue, which grew approximately 7% year over year, driven by
market-based rates charged to broadcast distributors through
renegotiated agreements for certain Bell Media specialty TV services.
Advertising revenue decreased slightly from last year, down
approximately 1%, as the impact of the NHL Lockout across Bell Media’s
specialty sports properties was largely offset by stronger advertising
demand and shifting demand to its conventional and non-sports specialty
TV channels.

Bell Media’s EBITDA was up 32.3% in Q4 2012 to $172 million, reflecting
the flow-through of higher subscriber fee revenue and 6.5% lower
operating costs due mainly to lower content and production costs as a
result of the NHL lockout. For the full 2012 year, operating revenue
and EBITDA were up 41.6% and 68.0%, respectively, to $2,183 million and
$561 million.

        --  CTV completed the fall season with 13 of the Top 20 programs,
            up 2 from the same period last year, and with 19% more viewers
            in primetime than Canada's other 2 leading private networks
            combined.

        --  TSN and RDS drew 5.8 million viewers for The Grey Cup, up 27%
            from the prior year, with the half-time show attracting an
            average audience of 6.4 million viewers.

        --  RDS announced a new multiplatform docu-reality series, 24CH,
            offering Habs fansunprecedented access to their team on
            television, Internet, superphones and tablets, in time for the
            first game of the season.

        --  CTV's non-sports specialty services continued to post strong
            audience growth with 8 of the Top 20 TV programs and all 5 of
            the Top 5 fall series, led by double-digit increases for The
            Comedy Network and Bravo!

        --  Bell Media Radio launched its new web platform. There are 13
            stations currently on the new technology, including Toronto's
            CHUMFM.com, the largest radio website.

        --  The Discovery Channel app reached 200,000 downloads. Social
            media campaigns for High Tech Toys Week and End of the World
            specials increased Daily Planet Facebook likes by 50%, while
            retweets increased 9-fold.

        --  Bell Media rebranded its Sympatico portal in English Canada as
            TheLoop.ca, a new brand destination that enhances and
            strengthens the most successful content on Sympatico with more
            original video hosted by distinctive Bell Media personalities.

        --  Cirque du Soleil and Bell Media announced the closing of the
            transaction to create Cirque du Soleil Média, a new joint
            venture to develop Québec-based media content for television,
            film, digital, and gaming platforms.

Bell Aliant
Bell Aliant’s revenues decreased 1.0% to $694 million in Q4 2012, due to
lower local and access, and long distance revenues, partly offset by
higher data and wireless revenues. Bell Aliant’s EBITDA decreased 2.2%
to $314 million this quarter, due to lower revenues as operating costs
were unchanged year over year. Similarly, for the full 2012 year, Bell
Aliant revenues and EBITDA declined 0.5% and 1.9%, respectively, to
$2,761 million and $1,292 million.

BCE RESULTS

BCE’s operating revenues were $5,161 million in Q4 2012, compared to
$5,166 million in Q4 2011, reflecting stable year-over-year revenues at
Bell and lower revenues at Bell Aliant. For the full 2012 year,
revenues were up 2.5% at $19,975 million, due to higher revenues at
Bell driven by the strong contribution of Bell Wireless and Bell Media.

BCE’s EBITDA increased 1.4% to $1,896 million in Q4 2012 and 3.3% to
$7,883 million for the full year as a result of 4.4% EBITDA growth at
Bell, moderated by a year-over-year decrease at Bell Aliant.

BCE’s cash flows from operating activities were $863 million in Q4, up
3.0% compared to $838 million last year, due to higher net earnings.
Free cash flow this quarter, before and after the $750 million
voluntary pension plan contribution, was $605 million and negative $145
million, respectively, compared to $564 million and negative $186
million, respectively, in the previous year. The year-over-year
improvement was due primarily to higher EBITDA. For the full 2012 year,
BCE’s cash flows from operating activities were up 14.0% to $5,552
million. Free cash flow, before and after a voluntary pension
contribution, was $2,420 million and $1,670 million compared to $2,261
million and $1,511 million in 2011, respectively.

BCE’s net earnings attributable to common shareholders were $708
million, or $0.91 per share, in Q4 compared to $486 million, or $0.62
per share, in the same quarter last year. The year-over-year increase
in earnings was due primarily to higher EBITDA and a $248 million
non-cash gain related to our Inukshuk investment. Full-year net
earnings attributable to common shareholders were $2,624 million or
$3.39 per share, compared to $2,221 million or $2.88 per share in 2011.

BCE’s Adjusted EPS was $0.65 per common share in the quarter, compared
to $0.62 last year. This 4.8% increase was due to higher EBITDA. For
the full 2012 year, BCE’s Adjusted EPS was $3.18 per share, $0.05
higher than 2011.

ASTRAL UPDATE
On November 19, 2012, following the CRTC’s denial of their original
application, Bell and Astral amended the terms of their proposed
transaction and submitted a new application to the CRTC for approval of
Bell’s proposed acquisition of Astral. The new proposal seeks to
address the CRTC’s concerns, including complying with the relevant
viewership thresholds and revising the package of tangible benefits to
support the creation of exceptional Canadian TV and radio content,
promote homegrown talent in a multi-platform universe, and foster
consumer engagement in the broadcasting system. As a result of the
amendments made to the terms of the original Arrangement Agreement
between Astral and Bell, the outside date for the closing of the
transaction has been extended to June 1, 2013 with Astral and Bell each
having a further right to postpone it to July 31, 2013, if required, to
obtain necessary regulatory approvals. Details of the new Astral-Bell
proposal will be made available by the CRTC when it launches its public
consultation on the application. The transaction remains subject to
CRTC and Competition Bureau approval, other closing conditions and
termination rights. A break-up fee of $150 million is payable by BCE to
Astral should the transaction not close before the outside date for
regulatory reasons. On February 1, 2013, Astral paid a cash dividend of
$0.50 per share on its class A non-voting shares and class B
subordinate voting shares. Learn more about Astral-Bell at CanadiansDeserveMore.ca.

BELL LET’S TALK DAY IS FEBRUARY 12
The 2013 Bell Let’s Talk campaign in support of Canadian mental health
highlights the impact of mental illness on our workplaces and economy.
On the third annual Bell Let’s Talk Day on February 12, national
spokesperson Clara Hughes will again invite to Canadians to join the
conversation about mental health to help reduce the stigma around
mental illness. On February 12, Bell will donate 5¢ more to Canadian
mental health initiatives for every text and long distance call by Bell
and Bell Aliant customers, tweets using #BellLetsTalk, and Facebook
shares of the Bell Let’s Talk image.

Bell also announced its support of the new national Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace standard, developed by CSA Group and Bureau de normalisation du Québec
in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Bell, the
Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and the
federal government funded the development of the voluntary standard.
The first of its kind in the world, the standard offers guidance to
Canadian businesses and other organizations in promoting mental health
and addressing mental illness in the workplace. With 500,000 Canadians
missing work each day because of a mental illness, the impact in lost
labour-market participation was an estimated $20.7 billion in 2012
alone.

BELL NAMED TOP MONTRÉAL EMPLOYER

Bell is proud to be recognized as one of Montréal’s Top Employers for
2013 in the annual competition organized by Mediacorp Canada. A
Montréal-based company since its founding in 1880, Bell was recognized
for its significant investment in training and professional
development, leading parental support programs, wide-ranging career
possibilities, and a share purchase plan that enables all team members
to share in the company’s success. Bell is the largest communications
company in Québec, with more than 17,000 employees and more than 13,000
retirees, and plays a crucial role in the technological, economic and
social prosperity of Québec.

OUTLOOK FOR 2013
Our 2013 financial guidance builds on the positive operating momentum we
delivered in 2012, reflecting continued strong progress in the
execution of Bell’s Strategic Imperatives and the ongoing
transformation of its operating mix away from legacy wireline voice
services.

The financial guidance targets for revenue growth, EBITDA growth,
Adjusted EPS, free cash flow growth and capital intensity in 2013 do
not reflect the financial impact from the pending acquisition of
Astral. We anticipate updating our 2013 financial guidance upon closing
of the Astral acquisition targeted for the second quarter of 2013.

BCE’s 2012 results and financial guidance targets for 2013 are as
follows:


                                        2012 Results      2013 Guidance

    Bell(i)                                                         

    Revenue Growth                            3.0%            0% - 2%

    EBITDA Growth                             4.4%            1% - 3%

    Capital Intensity                         16.6%          16% - 17%

    BCE                                                             

    Adjusted EPS (ii)                         $3.18             n.a.

    - As reported                                         $2.97 - $3.03

    - Restated for new pension                $2.96
    accounting standard

    Free Cash Flow growth (iii)               7.0%            5% - 9%

    Annual common dividend per share          $2.27             $2.33

    Dividend payout policy               65% - 75%        65% to 75%
                                     of free cash flow of free cash flow

    (i)   Bell's 2013 financial guidance for revenue, EBITDA and capital
          intensity is exclusive of Bell Aliant.

    (ii)  For 2013, we define Adjusted net earnings as net earnings
          attributable to common shareholders before severance, acquisition
          and other costs, net (gains) losses on investments and costs to
          retire debt early. We define Adjusted EPS as Adjusted net
          earnings per BCE Inc. common share.

    (iii) For 2013, we define free cash flow as cash flows from operating
          activities excluding acquisition costs paid and voluntary pension
          funding, plus dividends/distributions received from Bell Aliant,
          less capital expenditures, preferred share dividends,
          dividends/distributions paid by subsidiaries to non-controlling
          interest, and Bell Aliant free cash flow.

Our financial reporting in 2013 will reflect the introduction of the new
accounting standard for defined benefit pension plan expense that
requires the expected accounting rate of return on pension assets to be
reduced to the accounting pension discount rate. The non-cash impact on
2012 Adjusted EPS, which will be restated as a result of this new
pension accounting standard is $0.22 per share, resulting in a decrease
to reported Adjusted EPS from $3.18 per share to $2.96 per share. In
2013, Adjusted EPS will be impacted negatively by a further $0.06 per
share, reflecting a lower discount rate at the end of 2012 compared to
the end of the previous year. Additionally, due to the large non-cash
impact on Adjusted EPS, BCE will report its dividend payout ratio in
2013 on the basis of free cash flow as it is better aligned with the
payment of cash dividends.

COMMON SHARE DIVIDEND
BCE’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.5825 per
common share, payable on April 15, 2013 to shareholders of record at
the close of business on March 15, 2013.

WEBCAST
BCE’s 2013 Investor Conference being held today at the Royal York Hotel
in Toronto is being webcast live today, February 7, 2013, at 8:30 a.m.
ET on the BCE website at: http://www.bce.ca/investors/investorevents/all/show/bce-2013-analyst-conference. This webcast will also be available for replay on the BCE website
later in the day.

NOTES
The information contained in this news release is unaudited.


    (1) The terms Adjusted net earnings and Adjusted EPS do not have any
        standardized meaning under IFRS. They are therefore unlikely to be
        comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. For
        2012, we define Adjusted net earnings as net earnings attributable
        to common shareholders before severance, acquisition and other
        costs, and net (gains) losses on investments. We define Adjusted
        EPS as Adjusted net earnings per BCE Inc. common share. We use
        Adjusted net earnings and Adjusted EPS, among other measures, to
        assess the performance of our businesses without the effects of
        severance, acquisition and other costs, and net (gains) losses on
        investments, net of tax and non-controlling interest. We exclude
        these items because they affect the comparability of our financial
        results and could potentially distort the analysis of trends in
        business performance. Excluding these items does not imply they are
        non-recurring. The most comparable IFRS financial measures are net
        earnings attributable to common shareholders and earnings per
        share. The following table is a reconciliation of net earnings
        attributable to common shareholders and earnings per share to
        Adjusted net earnings on a consolidated basis and per BCE Inc.
        common share (Adjusted EPS), respectively.

($ millions except per share amounts)


                      Q4 2012     Q4 2011            2012            2011

                 Total    Per Total   Per Total Per share Total Per share
                        share       share

    Net earnings   708   0.91   486  0.62 2,624      3.39 2,221      2.88
    attributable
    to common
    shareholders

    Severance,      46   0.06   (2)     -    94      0.12   282      0.37
    acquisition
    and other
    costs

    Net gains on (248) (0.32)     -     - (256)    (0.33)  (89)    (0.12)
    investments

    Adjusted net   506   0.65   484  0.62 2,462      3.18 2,414      3.13
    earnings

    (2) The term EBITDA does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS.
        It is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures
        presented by other companies. We define EBITDA as operating
        revenues less operating costs, as shown in BCE's consolidated
        income statements. We use EBITDA to evaluate the performance of our
        businesses as it reflects their ongoing profitability. We believe
        that certain investors and analysts use EBITDA to measure a
        company's ability to service debt and to meet other payment
        obligations or as a common measurement to value companies in the
        telecommunications industry. EBITDA also is one component in the
        determination of short-term incentive compensation for all
        management employees. EBITDA has no directly comparable IFRS
        financial measure. Alternatively, the following table provides a
        reconciliation of BCE net earnings to EBITDA.

($ millions)


    December 31                         Q4 2012    Q4 2011    2012    2011

    Net earnings                            809        573   3,053   2,574

    Severance, acquisition and other         70        (1)     133     409
    costs

    Depreciation                            692        661   2,674   2,538

    Amortization                            175        181     714     723

    Finance costs                           223        218     865     853

      Interest expense                      239        245     958     973

      Interest on employee benefits       (267)      (260) (1,069) (1,032)
      obligations

    Expected return on pension plan       (242)          5   (270)   (129)
    assets

    Other income                            197        247     825     720

    Income taxes                                                          

    EBITDA                                1,896      1,869   7,883   7,629

    (3) The term free cash flow does not have any standardized meaning
        under IFRS. Therefore it is unlikely to be comparable to similar
        measures presented by other companies. For 2012, we define free
        cash flow as cash flows from operating activities, excluding
        acquisition costs paid, plus dividends/distributions received from
        Bell Aliant, less capital expenditures, preferred share dividends,
        dividends/distributions paid by subsidiaries to non-controlling
        interest and Bell Aliant free cash flow. We consider free cash flow
        to be an important indicator of the financial strength and
        performance of our business because it shows how much cash is
        available to repay debt and reinvest in our company. We present
        free cash flow consistently from period to period, which allows us
        to compare our financial performance on a consistent basis. We
        believe that certain investors and analysts use free cash flow to
        value a business and its underlying assets. The most comparable
        IFRS financial measure is cash from operating activities. The
        following table is a reconciliation of cash flows from operating
        activities to free cash flow on a consolidated basis.

($ millions)


                                          Q4 2012 Q4 2011    2012    2011

    Cash flows from operating activities      863     838   5,552   4,869

    Bell Aliant dividends / distributions      48      48     191     214
    to BCE

    Capital expenditures                    (914) (1,008) (3,515) (3,256)

    Dividends paid on preferred shares       (39)    (31)   (133)   (118)

    Dividends paid by subsidiaries to        (85)    (72)   (340)   (315)
    non-controlling interest

    Acquisition costs paid                      5      28     101      70

    Bell Aliant free cash flow               (23)      11   (186)      47

    Free cash flow                          (145)   (186)   1,670   1,511

CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements made in this news release, including, but not limited
to, statements relating to our 2013 financial guidance (including
revenues, EBITDA, Capital Intensity, Adjusted EPS and Free Cash Flow),
our business outlook, objectives, plans and strategic priorities, BCE’s
2013 annualized common share dividend and common share dividend policy,
the expected timing and completion of BCE’s proposed acquisition of
Astral, our 4G LTE wireless, IPTV network and broadband fibre
deployment plans and other statements that are not historical facts,
are forward-looking. Forward-looking statements are typically
identified by the words “assumption”, “goal”, “guidance”, “objective”, “outlook”, “project”,
“strategy”, “target”
and other similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as “aim“, “anticipate“, “believe“, “could“, “expect“, “intend“, “may“, “plan“, “seek“, “should“, “strive” and “will“. All such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the ‘safe
harbour’ provisions of applicable Canadian securities laws and of the
United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Forward-looking statements, by their very nature, are subject to
inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions,
both general and specific, which give rise to the possibility that
actual results or events could differ materially from our expectations
expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. As a
result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will
materialize and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these
forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in
this news release describe our expectations as of February 7, 2013 and,
accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Except as may be
required by Canadian securities laws, we do not undertake any
obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained
in this news release, whether as a result of new information, future
events or otherwise. Except as otherwise indicated by BCE,
forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any
non-recurring or other special items or of any dispositions,
monetizations, mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations or
other transactions that may be announced or that may occur after
February 7, 2013. The financial impact of these transactions and
non-recurring and other special items can be complex and depends on the
facts particular to each of them. We therefore cannot describe the
expected impact in a meaningful way or in the same way we present known
risks affecting our business. Forward-looking statements are presented
for the purpose of assisting investors and others in understanding
certain key elements of our expected 2013 financial results, as well as
our objectives, strategic priorities and business outlook for 2013, and
in obtaining a better understanding of our anticipated operating
environment. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be
appropriate for other purposes.

Material Assumptions
A number of economic, market, operational and financial assumptions were
made by BCE in preparing its forward-looking statements for 2013
contained in this news release, including, but not limited to:

Canadian Economic and Market Assumptions

        --  Growth in the Canadian economy of 2.0% in 2013, compared to
            estimated growth of 1.9% in 2012, based on the Bank of Canada's
            most recent estimate;
        --  a slow pace of employment growth and new business formation
            affecting overall business customer demand;
        --  a sustained level of wireline and wireless competition in both
            consumer and business markets;
        --  higher wireline replacement, due primarily to increasing
            wireless and Internet-based technological substitution;
        --  increasing wireless industry penetration driven, in particular,
            by the accelerated adoption of smartphones, tablets and data
            applications, the expansion of LTE service in most urban and
            sub-urban markets, the proliferation of 4G devices, as well as
            population growth; and
        --  a stable advertising market for Bell Media.

Operational Assumptions
Our forward-looking statements for 2013 are also based on certain
internal operational assumptions concerning Bell (excluding Bell
Aliant), including, but not limited to:

        --  a growing number of network access service (NAS) line losses
            from increasing wireless and Internet-based technological
            substitution;
        --  improving year-over-year residential NAS line losses with
            targeted service bundle offers led by Bell Fibe TV;
        --  continued large business customer migration to IP based
            systems, increased competitive intensity in mass and mid-size
            business markets and ongoing competitive re-price pressures in
            our business and wholesale markets;
        --  ARPU growth maintained across all residential products and
            increasing penetration of three-product households driven by
            Bell Fibe TV growth;
        --  ongoing aggressive competitive pricing on bundle offers with a
            focus on promotional discounts and customer retention credits;
        --  Bell Mobility to maintain its market share of the incumbent
            wireless postpaid market;
        --  relatively stable year-over-year rate of investment in
            subscriber cost of acquisition per gross activation and
            retention spending as a percentage of wireless service revenue
            to drive optimal postpaid customer and device mix;
        --  increased blended wireless ARPU driven by data usage and
            roaming growth attributable to a higher mix of smartphones and
            higher-value postpaid customers as well as increased
            distribution in western Canada, offset partly by voice ARPU
            erosion due to pricing and data substitution;
        --  the maintenance of relatively stable EBITDA margins;
        --  continued execution on operating cost reductions and labour
            efficiency gains across the Bell organization to offset costs
            related to growth in our Fibe TV subscriber activations, higher
            wireless customer acquisition and retention spending, and
            ongoing wireline voice erosion;
        --  increasing EBITDA contribution from wireless with a lesser
            year-over-year decline in wireline EBITDA;
        --  a gradual improvement in the performance of our Business
            Markets unit as the economy grows and employment levels rise;
        --  Bell Media's ability to maintain solid TV ratings, implement
            further market-based specialty TV rate increases and control
            programming costs;
        --  increased investment in broadband infrastructure and fibre
            expansion and upgrades to support Bell Fibe TV and our Internet
            services;
        --  Bell Fibe TV service footprint extended to approximately 4.3
            million households by the end of 2013; and
        --  Bell Fibe TV contributing to stronger overall TV subscriber
            growth, Internet attach rates and triple-play household share.

Financial Assumptions
Our forward-looking statements for 2013 are also based on certain
financial assumptions for 2013 concerning Bell (excluding Bell Aliant),
including, but not limited to:

        --  Bell's total employee benefit plans cost to be approximately
            $340million, based on an estimated accounting discount rate of
            4.4% and an expected return on plan assets of 4.4%, comprised
            of an estimated above EBITDA employee benefit plans service
            cost of approximately $220million and an estimated below EBITDA
            net employee benefit plans financing cost of approximately $120
            million;
        --  total pension plan cash funding to be approximately $350
            million;
        --  cash taxes to be approximately $300 million, and;
        --  net interest expense and payments to be approximately $700
            million.

Our forward-looking statements for 2013 are also based on certain
financial assumptions for 2013 concerning BCE, including, but not
limited to:

        --  BCE's total employee benefit plans cost to be approximately
            $420 million, including approximately $80 million for Bell
            Aliant, comprised of an estimated above EBITDA employee benefit
            plans service cost of approximately $280million and an
            estimated below EBITDA net employee benefit plans financing
            cost of approximately $140million;
        --  depreciation and amortization expense approximately $50 million
            higher compared to 2012;
        --  net interest expense of approximately $875 million;
        --  tax adjustments (per share) of approximately $0.07;
        --  an effective tax rate of approximately 26%;
        --  non-controlling interest similar to 2012; and
        --  an annual common share dividend of $2.33per share.

The foregoing assumptions, although considered reasonable by BCE on
February 7, 2013, may prove to be inaccurate. Accordingly, our actual
results could differ materially from our expectations as set forth in
this news release.

Material Risks
Important risk factors that could cause our assumptions and estimates to
be inaccurate and actual results or events to differ materially from
those expressed in or implied by our forward-looking statements,
including our 2013 financial guidance, are listed below. The
realization of our forward-looking statements, including our ability to
meet our 2013 financial guidance, essentially depends on our business
performance which, in turn, is subject to many risks. Accordingly,
readers are cautioned that any of the following risks could have a
material adverse effect on our forward-looking statements. These risks
include, but are not limited to:

        --  the intensity of competitive activity, including the increase
            in wireless competitive activity resulting from new wireless
            entrants and their ability to launch or expand services, and
            the resulting impact on our ability to retain existing
            customers and attract new ones, as well as on our pricing
            strategies, ARPU and financial results;
        --  the level of technological substitution contributing to reduced
            utilization of traditional wireline voice services and the
            increasing number of households that use only wireless
            telephone services;
        --  the increased adoption by customers of alternative TV services;
        --  variability in subscriber acquisition and retention costs based
            on subscriber acquisitions, retention volumes, smartphone sales
            and subsidy levels;
        --  regulatory initiatives or proceedings, litigation, changes in
            laws or regulations and tax matters;
        --  our failure to maintain network operating performance including
            as a result of the significant increase in broadband demand and
            in the volume of wireless data driven traffic;
        --  events affecting the functionality of, and our ability to
            protect, maintain and replace, our networks, equipment,
            facilities and other assets;
        --  our ability to maintain customer service and our networks
            operational in the event of the occurrence of environmental
            disasters or epidemics, pandemics and other health risks;
        --  our ability to anticipate and respond to technological change,
            upgrade our networks and rapidly offer new products and
            services;
        --  our failure to implement, on a timely basis, or maintain
            effective IT systems and the complexity and costs of our IT
            environment;
        --  general economic and financial market conditions, the level of
            consumer confidence and spending, and the demand for, and
            prices of, our products and services;
        --  our ability to implement our strategies and plans in order to
            produce the expected benefits, including our ability to
            continue to implement our cost reduction initiatives and
            contain capital intensity while seeking to improve customer
            service;
        --  increased contributions to employee benefit plans;
        --  ineffective management of changes resulting from restructurings
            and other corporate initiatives and from the integration of
            business units and business acquisitions;
        --  the complexity of our product offerings and pricing plans;
        --  labour disruptions;
        --  employee retention and performance;
        --  events affecting the ability of third-party suppliers to
            provide to us, and our ability to purchase, essential products
            and services;
        --  the quality of our network and customer equipment and the
            extent to which they may be subject to manufacturing defects;
        --  capital and other expenditure levels, financing and debt
            requirements and our ability to raise the capital we need to
            implement our business plan, including for BCE's dividend
            payments and to fund capital and other expenditures and
            generally meet our financial obligations;
        --  our ability to discontinue certain traditional services as
            necessary to improve capital and operating efficiencies;
        --  launch and in-orbit risks of satellites used by Bell ExpressVu
            Limited Partnership;
        --  the theft of our DTH satellite television services;
        --  Bell Media's significant dependence on continued demand for
            advertising, and the potential adverse effect thereon from
            economic conditions, cyclical and seasonal variations and
            competitive pressures;
        --  the adverse effect of new technology and increasing
            fragmentation in Bell Media's television and radio markets;
        --  potential increases in royalties payable by Bell Media under
            licences pursuant to the Copyright Act may increase;
        --  health concerns about radio frequency emissions from wireless
            devices;
        --  BCE's dependence on the ability of its subsidiaries, joint
            ventures and other companies in which it has an interest to pay
            dividends and make other distributions;
        --  there can be no certainty that dividends will be declared by
            BCE's board of directors or that BCE's dividend policy will be
            maintained;
        --  stock market volatility;
        --  our failure to evolve practices and effectively monitor and
            control fraudulent activities; and
        --  the expected timing and completion of the proposed acquisition
            by BCE of Astral is subject to approval by the CRTC and
            Competition Bureau, other closing conditions, termination
            rights and other risks and uncertainties; accordingly, there
            can be no certainty that the transaction will be completed or
            that anticipated benefits will be realized.

We caution that the foregoing list of risk factors is not exhaustive and
other factors could also adversely affect our results.

We encourage investors to also read BCE’s Safe Harbour Notice Concerning
Forward-Looking Statements dated February 7, 2013, for additional
information with respect to certain of these and other assumptions and
risks, filed by BCE with the Canadian securities commissions (available
at www.sedar.com) and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (available at www.sec.gov). This document is also available on BCE’s website at www.bce.ca. BCE’s Safe Harbour Notice Concerning Forward-Looking Statements dated
February 7, 2013 is incorporated by reference into this news release.
For additional information, please refer to the February 7, 2013 Bell
Investor Conference 2013 presentations available on BCE’s website.

ABOUT BCE
BCE is Canada’s largest communications company, providing a
comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband communication services
to residential and business customers under the Bell and Bell Aliant
brands. Bell Media is Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading
assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV, Canada’s
#1 television network, and the country’s most-watched specialty
channels.

The Bell Mental Health Initiative is a multi-year charitable program
that promotes mental health across Canada via the Bell Let’s Talk
anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and
workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca. For Bell product and service information, please visit Bell.ca. For Bell Media, please visit BellMedia.ca.

SOURCE Bell Canada


Source: PR Newswire