Company Report

BCE’s Q4 cash flows from operating activities down 22% to $1,631 million

BCE announces 2021 financial targets, 5.1% dividend increase and capital investment acceleration of at least $1 billion to advance fibre and wireless network expansion over the next 2 years.

BCE’s Q4 cash flows from operating activities down 22% to $1,631 million; Q4 free cash flow of $92 million reflects $1.5 billion in capital investments, up 30% year over year; generated substantial free cash flow of $3.35 billion in 2020.

Following BCE’s June 1, 2020 announcement that it had agreed to sell substantially all of its data centre operations, we have reclassified amounts related to the announced sale for the previous periods to discontinued operations in our consolidated income statements and consolidated statements of cash flows to make them consistent with the presentation for the current period. The transaction was completed in Q4 2020.

BCE cash flows from operating activities in Q4 were $1,631 million, down 22.0% from Q4 2019, reflecting lower adjusted EBITDA, higher income taxes paid due to the timing of instalment payments, and a reduction in cash from working capital driven mainly by growth in accounts receivable from increased consumer activity, including a higher volume of wireless equipment instalment plan sales, and the timing of supplier payments. For full-year 2020, BCE cash flows from operating activities totalled $7,754 million, down 2.6% compared to 2019.

Free cash flow was down 89.5% in Q4 to $92 million, compared to $874 million the year before, due to lower cash flows from operating activities, excluding cash from discontinued operations and acquisition and other costs paid, as well as higher capital expenditures. For full-year 2020, BCE free cash flow decreased 10.4% to $3,348 million.


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