MONTREAL -- BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), says it recorded adjusted net earnings in the fourth quarter of $495 million, or 64 cents per share, down from $666 million, or 86 cents per share, from the same quarter in 2012.

The company says the year-over-year decrease in net earnings was due to a non-cash gain recognized in the fourth quarter of 2012 on the transfer of spectrum from Inukshuk to its partners.

Adjusted net earnings were $540 million, an increase of 16.4 per cent, and adjusted earnings per share increased 16.7 per cent to 70 cents,, mainly as a result of higher before-tax earnings at Bell.

Canada's largest communications company says operating revenues during the quarter were 4.3 per cent higher at $5.3 billion as all 2013 financial targets were achieved.

BCE also announced a 14 cent per share increase in its annual common share dividend to $2.47.

For all of 2013, BCE's net earnings were $1.975 billion, or $2.55 per share, down from $2.4 billion, or $3.17 per share, compared to the previous year. BCE says the decrease was partly due to $230 million that Bell was ordered to pay by the CRTC as part of the acquisition of Astral that was completed in the third quarter.

Bell operating revenues grew 5.2 per cent in the fourth quarter to $4.8 billion, driven by steady wireless growth and strong TV and Internet expansion outpacing declines in traditional voice services.

Bell Media operating revenue rose 38.9 per cent in to $821 million, thanks to higher advertising and subscriber fee revenues from the Astral acquisition, which closed on July 5, 2013.

In its 2014 guidance, BCE says it expects earnings per share of between $3.10 and $3.20, up from $2.99 in 2012. The company also expects Bell's revenue growth to be in the two to four per cent range.

"Bell's strategy of intense investment in Canada's next-generation communications infrastructure is delivering for our customers and shareholders," said Bell Canada president and CEO George Cope.

"Momentum continued across all Bell's business segments, especially in our Wireless, Media, TV and Internet growth services. At the same time, we reduced losses in traditional home and business landlines."