TELUS Corporation – Annual report – 31 December 2019
3 CAPITAL STRUCTURE FINANCIAL POLICIES
Our objective when managing capital is to maintain a flexible capital structure that optimizes the cost and availability of capital at acceptable risk.
In the management of capital and in its definition, we include common equity (excluding accumulated other comprehensive income), long-term debt (including long-term credit facilities, commercial paper backstopped by long-term credit facilities and any hedging assets or liabilities associated with long-term debt items, net of amounts recognized in accumulated other comprehensive income), cash and temporary investments, and short-term borrowings arising from securitized trade receivables.
We manage our capital structure and make adjustments to it in light of changes in economic conditions and the risk characteristics of our business. In order to maintain or adjust our capital structure, we may adjust the amount of dividends paid to holders of Common Shares, purchase Common Shares for cancellation pursuant to normal course issuer bids, issue new shares, issue new debt, issue new debt to replace existing debt with different characteristics and/or increase or decrease the amount of trade receivables sold to an arm’s-length securitization trust.
During 2019, our financial objectives, which are reviewed annually, were unchanged from 2018. We believe that our financial objectives are supportive of our long-term strategy.
We monitor capital utilizing a number of measures, including: net debt to earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA*) – excluding restructuring and other costs ratio; coverage ratios; and dividend payout ratios.
Debt and coverage ratios
Net debt to EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs is calculated as net debt at the end of the period, divided by 12-month trailing EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs. This measure, historically, is substantially similar to the leverage ratio covenant in our credit facilities. Net debt and EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs are measures that do not have any standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS-IASB and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The calculation of these measures is set out in the following table. Net debt is one component of a ratio used to determine compliance with debt covenants.
*EBITDA does not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS-IASB and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers; we define EBITDA as operating revenues less goods and services purchased and employee benefits expense. We have issued guidance on, and report, EBITDA because it is a key measure that management uses to evaluate the performance of our business, and it is also utilized in measuring compliance with certain debt covenants.
Net debt to EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs was 3.20 times as at December 31, 2019, up from 2.54 times one year earlier. The effect of the increase in net debt, attributed in part to the recognition of lease liabilities upon the application of IFRS 16 effective January 1, 2019 (see Note 2(a)), was exceeded by the effect of growth in EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs; the implementation of IFRS 16 had the effect of increasing the ratio by approximately 0.14 as at December 31, 2019. The earnings coverage ratio for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2019, was 4.0 times, down from 4.4 times one year earlier. Higher borrowing costs, including the recognition of interest on lease liabilities upon the application of IFRS 16, reduced the ratio by 0.6, and an increase in income before borrowing costs and income taxes increased the ratio by 0.2. The EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs interest coverage ratio for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2019, was 7.5 times, down from 8.4 times one year earlier. Growth in EBITDA – excluding restructuring and other costs increased the ratio by 0.4, while an increase in net interest costs, including the recognition of interest on lease liabilities upon the application of IFRS 16, reduced the ratio by 1.3.
Dividend payout ratio
The dividend payout ratio presented is a historical measure calculated as the sum of the last four quarterly dividends declared per Common Share, as recorded in the financial statements, divided by the sum of basic earnings per share for the most recent four quarters for interim reporting periods (divided by annual basic earnings per share if the reported amount is in respect of a fiscal year). The dividend payout ratio of adjusted net earnings presented, also a historical measure, differs in that it excludes the gain on exchange of wireless spectrum licences, net gains and equity income from real estate joint ventures, provisions related to business combinations, long-term debt prepayment premium and income tax-related adjustments.