SBA Prefers Macro Towers for Best Returns

Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference

For SBA, macro towers remain its primary focus, especially international structures. SBA EVP/CFO Brendan Cavanagh told attendees of the Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, that Brazil is its largest such market and it’s seeing “nice leasing growth” there. Even when that country’s economy has not been good, SBA is seeing “steady” growth, according to the executive.

Asked which SBA believes generates better rates of return, small cells and fiber versus macro towers, Cavanagh said the company “has generally preferred international towers as opposed to small cells and fiber,” citing a “lack of exclusivity” in the latter. While he’s sure small cells and fiber “will be a fundamental” part of wireless deployment, “It’s a matter of what do we bring to the table that allows us to generate returns in our macro tower business,” he said. “If you have assets that are not exclusive, like these, the synergies are not really there. Your macro business is now impacted by other business you’re desperate to get margins on.”

In general, 2018 should be better than 2017 for towercos “because all four carriers will be active,” said Cavanagh. He cited AT&T’s FirstNet buildout and Sprint’s “revisiting and returning to network spend and investment.”

January 11, 2018

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