Telecom sector remains sound as it maintains services for Canadians amid COVID-19: CEO of BCE
The chief executive of BCE Inc. acknowledged Friday that the giant telco isn't immune to COVID-19's impact, but he struck a confident tone that shareholders won't see any change to the company's dividend policy.
"Our dividend performance has been really a hallmark of the value we've delivered to investors over the years and we have no change in plans in that regard," said Mirko Bibic in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.
Investors have grown to expect reliable dividend hikes from BCE, and the company delivered just that on Feb. 6 when it announced a five per cent boost to $3.33 per share annually.
Bibic said in the interview Friday that the scheduled quarterly payment of $0.8325 per share will be made as scheduled on Apr. 15.
"The crisis has clearly had an impact the world over and Bell is affected like everyone else," he said, noting the company had to make some unanticipated investments to keep up with surging demand for service across its networks.
Indeed, Bibic said his company is in "all hands on deck" mode, while working closely with the government, to ensure communication networks are running smoothly. He noted daytime home internet usage has surged 60 per cent and that networks are performing as they should “99.995” per cent of the time.
"We all intuitively know how important it is for us as individuals, but for our country also, to have top-notch networks and those networks are really shining through now that we need communication more than ever."