Nov. 3, 2014, 8:48 AM
- Goldman and Macquarie have both downgraded American Tower (NYSE:AMT) to Neutral, and Nomura has issued a similar downgrade for Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI). Meanwhile, Goldman has upgraded CCI to Buy, and Raymond James has downgraded the company to Outperform from Strong Buy.
- AMT rallied on Thursday thanks to a strong Q3 AFFO figure and a full-year guidance hike. CCI sold off on Friday due to the company's soft 2015 outlook.
- Macquarie's Kevin Smithen says his firm has spent the last few days conducting checks to "try and reconcile" AMT's bullish commentary with CCI's cautious outlook. The checks "suggest a 100-150bps slowdown in industry US site leasing revenue growth in ‘16 as AT&T, Sprint and T-Mo reduce aggregate wireless capex and decommission Leap, Clearwire and Metro sites."
- He sees AMT's U.S. organic growth falling to 7.5% in 2015 and 6.4% in 2016 from 9.5% in 2014, and predicts the slowdown will yield multiple compression. "While we regard AMT’s mgmt. team and business model very highly, we are moving to the sideline on the shares until we feel ... expectations reflect slowing growth in ’16."
- Goldman's Brett Feldman says his "fundamental outlook for AMT" hasn't changed. However, he thinks "investors looking for exposure to the tower sector can generate a more attractive total return in CCI," following the company's huge dividend hike.
- If they pan out, Macquarie's checks also have implications for SBA (NASDAQ:SBAC). SBA's shares fell 1.8% on Friday thanks to Crown Castle.
Oct. 30, 2014, 1:39 PM
- Though it missed Q3 EPS estimates (while beating on revenue), American Tower (NYSE:AMT) is hiking its full-year AFFO guidance to $1.8B-$1.82B from $1.755B-$1.795B.
- Also, AMT now respectively forecasts U.S. and international organic core revenue growth of 9.5% and 16%; prior guidance was for 9%+ and "nearly 15%" growth.
- Rental/management revenue guidance has been narrowed to $3.975B-$4.005B from $3.945B-$4.015B, and net income guidance lowered to $805M-$825M from $830M-$850M.
- Q3 AFFO rose 25.2% Y/Y to $460M ($1.15/share, well above EPS of $0.50).
- U.S. rental/management revenue +25.2% to $664M (+9.1% organic); international revenue +30.3% to $348M (+17.7% organic). Network development services revenue more than doubled to $27.1M.
- Rental/management op. margin slipped to 67% from 69% a year ago. AMT ended Q3 with $13.6B in net debt, and a 5.1x net leverage ratio.
- SBA (SBAC +1.4%) and Crown Castle (CCI +0.8%) are up moderately.
- Q3 results, PR
Oct. 30, 2014, 7:04 AM
Oct. 29, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Oct. 10, 2014, 8:23 AM
- Scooping up Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) tower portfolio could position American Tower as (NYSE:AMT) the new leader in the U.S. tower market, Citigroup says in a note.
- A purchase would help AMT's scale and increase its exposure to VZ as an anchor tenant.
- Related: Bloomberg: Verizon looking to sell towers, could net $6B
Sep. 23, 2014, 6:13 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has hired boutique i-bank TAP Advisors to find a buyer and work out a lease-back agreement for its 12K wireless towers by year's end, Bloomberg reports. It adds a deal could yield $6B, given how much AT&T received per tower in last year's $4.83B sale/leasing deal with Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI).
- Crown Castle, American Tower (NYSE:AMT), and SBA (NASDAQ:SBAC) have all been buying towers at a heady pace. However, the rising debt loads produced by the purchases could make one or more of the companies respond cautiously to Verizon's move.
- Verizon, for its part, is looking to de-leverage some after raising over $60B in debt to help pay for the Vodafone deal. The carrier had $104.2B in net debt at the end of Q2.
Sep. 3, 2014, 12:59 PM
- With American Tower (AMT -0.7%) up 24% YTD going into day, Morgan Stanley's Simon Flannery now considers shares fairly valued, and is downgrading them to Equal-Weight. His target is at $98.
- AMT is 5 weeks removed from posting a Q2 beat and guidance hike. Flannery still thinks emerging markets (previous) could act as a growth driver for the cell tower owner.
Aug. 15, 2014, 5:35 PM
Jul. 30, 2014, 12:51 PM
- In addition to beating Q2 estimates, American Tower (AMT +3.9%) is hiking its full-year AFFO guidance to $1.755B-$1.795B from $1.725B-$1.765B, and its full-year rental/management revenue guidance to $3.945B-$4.015B from $3.895B-$3.975B.
- At the midpoint, the revenue forecast assumes domestic revenue of $2.625B, and international revenue of $1.355B. Full-year core domestic revenue is expected to grow over 9% on an organic basis (accounts for acquisitions), and international organic core growth is expected to be near 15%.
- Full-year capex guidance has been hiked by $75M to $925M-$1.025B. Discretionary capex is expected to total $480M-$540M, and cover the buildout of 2,250-2,750 new sites.
- Organic core revenue grew 11.4% Y/Y in Q2 in the U.S., and 17.9% internationally. Gross margin fell 120 bps Y/Y to 74.1%; segment op. margin was steady at 68%.
- AMT's site portfolio grew by 1,112 Q/Q to 68,822. 642 were constructed, 508 acquired, and 38 lost due to adjustments. Strong 4G buildout activity is providing a boost to site demand.
- Q2 results, PR
Jul. 30, 2014, 7:12 AM
Jul. 29, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Jun. 16, 2014, 6:58 AM
- BR Towers S.A. owns about 2,530 towers and the exclusive rights to another 2,110, and American Towers (AMT) is buying for about $978M.
- The towers are expected to generate about $131M in annual revenue and roughly $81M in annual gross margin. The deal is expected to be immediately accretive to adjusted FFO upon closing (anticipated in Q4).
- Source: Press Release
Jun. 13, 2014, 7:03 PM
- "The tower industry has several favorable characteristics ... such as recurring revenue streams with long-term contracts, high operating leverage and a benign competitive environment," writes Credit Suisse's Joseph Mastrogiovanni. 4G upgrades, data traffic growth, and pending spectrum auctions are all seen as catalysts.
- At the same time, Mastrogiovanni sees U.S. M&A activity - particularly a potential Sprint/T-Mobile deal - as a risk.
- American Tower (AMT), just started at Outperform, is his top pick in the space. He likes the company's international exposure (1/3 of revenue), and is the most insulated from M&A.
- Crown Castle (CCI) and SBA (SBAC) have been started at Neutral. Mastrogiovanni likes CCI's long-term potential, but also notes it has "the highest exposure to U.S. consolidation risk." He sees SBA benefiting from a lack of master lease agreements with AT&T/Verizon, but thinks it's also exposed to industry M&A.
- Worth noting: M&A only becomes a major issue if regulators approve a Sprint/T-Mobile deal. All signs suggest they still have their concerns.
- Crown Castle CEO Ben Moreland has argued a pending auction for the high-frequency AWS band will lead to "thousands" of new cell sites. A larger auction involving low-frequency spectrum is set for mid-2015.
May. 5, 2014, 3:10 PM
- Globes reports American Tower (AMT +1.6%) is talking with Israel's Cellcom (CEL -0.9%) and Pelephone Communications about buying their mobile sites and leasing them back.
- AMT, which posted a Q1 beat on Thursday, has been on an acquisition binge in recent years. The company agreed to buy giant U.S. cell tower owner Global Tower for $4.8B last year, and also paid $811M to buy and lease back Brazilian/Mexican towers from NII Holdings.
- Thanks to its acquisitions, AMT ended Q1 with $14.3B in debt, a sum offset by just $333M in cash/equivalents.
- Globes notes antitrust regulators have objected to Cellcom and Pelephone's plans to jointly build a 4G network, and that the carriers are looking for other ways to cut costs. The paper reported last month Cellcom is getting set to launch a pay-TV service in August.
May. 1, 2014, 7:07 AM| Comment!
Apr. 30, 2014, 5:30 PM
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AMT vs. ETF Alternatives
American Tower Corp is an owner, operator and developer of wireless and broadcast communications real estate. The Company's main business is leasing antenna space on multi-tenant communications sites to different providers.
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