Yesterday at 3:30 PM in a fireside chat setting at the Cowen Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, in a live webcast, American Tower Corporation's (NYSE:AMT) Leah Stearns, Vice President, Investor Relations & Capital Markets, gave a candid view of where AMT is looking for growth. A transcript of the discussion is available here on SA.
Here is a brief description of AMT's operation:
American Tower is a leading independent owner, operator and developer of wireless and broadcast communications real estate. American Tower currently owns and operates approximately 56,000 communications sites in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Uganda. For more information about American Tower, please visitwww.americantower.com.
This is important because it highlights the markets where AMT's growth will come from in the future. Quoting from the transcript, Leah says,:
Well, I think we've demonstrated that in the U.S. particular scale has helped and so we're very interested in adding scale in our existing markets, and so we continue to look for additional opportunities to deploy capital, add or above our risk adjusted trial rates to make sure that we're adding to that asset base becoming more relevant to our customers. I think that we've great portfolio that where we've stand today in our market, but I think that there is the opportunity to maximize the value of those portfolios by adding more towers because is not lot of additional SG&A that needs to come along with new sites."
We think this is why AMT has stated their interest in NII Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD) tower assets. And we think that the deal is in the works and could be announced shortly. It may happen on a country by country basis or maybe an entire portfolio. NIHD has said it was looking at selling roughly half of its 9000 towers in a tower transaction. Maybe AMT wants them all in order to do another financing in this continuing interest friendly environment. We also think that a rumor that AMT was interested in expanding in India was what caused a sell-off in NIHD over the last two days. That rumor has no effect , in our opinion, on AMT's keen interest in NIHD's towers. We think NIHD was unfairly caught in a downdraft of the telecom sector association with high yield financing markets, and therefore is a buying opportunity for investors anywhere below $13 per share.
Disclosure: I am long NIHD.