Solid Start for CCI  

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Late Wednesday, Crown Castle reported their first quarter earnings. Industry analysts had a lot to say after the earnings were released, and after CCI held their quarterly conference call:

Colby Synesael of Cowen and Company, noted, “Crown reported good 1Q15 results including AFFO/share at the high-end of guidance after backing out some timing benefits that weren’t contemplated in guidance. The company also slightly increased its 2015 organic site rental rev. growth forecast and AFFO despite FX headwinds. As a result, we expect the stock to trade up slightly relative to the overall market.”

Jonathan Schildkraut of Evercore ISI, commented, “CCI reported solid 1Q results, with site leasing, EBITDA, and AFFO per share ahead of our estimates by 0.6%, 2.0% and 5.8% respectively. Notably, AFFO for 1Q benefitted from ~$6 million in lower than expected sustaining capex, or roughly $0.02 per share. Without this benefit, AFFO per share would have been $1.13, 4.0% ahead of our estimate. CCI also increased its FY15 outlook for site leasing, EBITDA, and AFFO per share by 0.2%, 0.1%, and 0.2%, respectively, which implies strong domestic results given the reduction in FX assumptions (moving the AUD/USD assumption to 0.76x from 0.81x).”

Spencer Kurn of New Street Research, wrote, “Crown reported good 1Q15 results including AFFO/share at the high-end of guidance after backing out some timing benefits that weren’t contemplated in guidance. The company also slightly increased its 2015 organic site rental rev. growth forecast and AFFO despite FX headwinds. As a result, we expect the stock to trade up slightly relative to the overall market.”

Jennifer Fritzsche, Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo, said, “Jennifer Fritzsche, Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo, said, “A solid quarter overall, in our view, with Q1 numbers coming in ahead of estimates and CCI’s previous guidance. The improved 2015 guidance should also be a positive for the stock performance. Carrier capex should be more back-end loaded in 2015, which is consistent with CCI’s expectations. Small cell business grew +35% in Q1 and now comprises 7% of site rental revenue and 7% of gross margin; [CCI] noted that 2,500 small cell builds are in the backlog, the majority of which should come online in 2016; CCI currently has 14,000 small cell nodes deployed or in construction. [CCI is] seeing strong leasing activity in 2015, slightly beyond what they originally anticipated, which is helping drive the increase of its 2015 site rental revenue guidance by $7 million.”

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