American Tower Corporation (REIT) (AMT)

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American Tower Corp. (AMT)

Q4 2009 Earnings Call Transcript

February 24, 2010 8:30 am ET


Michael Powell – VP, IR

Tom Bartlett – EVP and CFO

Jim Taiclet – Chairman, President and CEO


Brett Feldman – Deutsche Bank

Jason Armstrong – Goldman Sachs

Michael Rollins – Citi Investments

Ric Prentiss – Raymond James

James Ratcliffe – Barclays Capital

Jonathan Schildkraut – Jefferies & Company



Good morning. My name is Darlene and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the American Tower fourth quarter 2009 earnings conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Michael Powell. Sir, you may begin your conference.

Michael Powell

Thanks, Darlene and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining American Tower's conference call regarding our fourth quarter and full year 2009 financial results. Please note that we have posted a brief presentation to accompany this morning's call on our web site which is And if you haven't done so already, you may want to download this presentation as we will refer to it at various times throughout our prepared remarks.

The agenda for this morning's call will be as follows. First, I will provide an introduction and highlight certain key metrics from our fourth quarter and full year 2009 results. Following that, Tom Bartlett, our Chief Financial Officer will go over our financial result in more detail and provide color on our 2010 outlook. And finally, Jim Taiclet, our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer will then give closing remarks including his current thoughts on key business strategy. As always, after these remarks, we will open up the call for your questions.

Before I begin, I would like to remind you that this call will contain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Examples of these statements include statements regarding our 2009 outlook, our stock repurchase program, our pending acquisition in India, credit market conditions and any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts. You should be aware that certain factors may affect us in the future and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Such factors include the risk factors set forth in this morning's press release and those set forth in Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 and our other filings with the SEC. We urge you to consider these factors and remind you that we undertake no obligation to update the information contained in this call to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances

And with that, I will begin the call and highlight some of our results. Please turn to slide four of the presentation for a summary of fourth quarter results as well as our full year 2009 results compared against the year ago period.

With regards to our fourth quarter results, we reported total revenues of approximately $448 million reflecting growth of 9.7% from the year ago period. Tom will provide additional color on the core growth of our rental and management business excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rates and straight-line accounting. Our adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $308 million which is a 10.1% increase from a year ago. The operating income for the quarter increased 15.5% to over $176 million. And income from continuing operations was approximately $64 million or $0.16 per both basic and diluted common share.

And now, I would like to turn the call over to Tom.

Tom Bartlett

Thanks, Michael and good morning, everyone. I'm again pleased to report that American Tower continued its track record of consistently delivering strong revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth during the fourth quarter of 2009. Please turn to slide five to review some of the highlights.

Our reported rental and management segment revenue growth was 10.4%. Our core growth which excludes the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and straight-line lease accounting was 10.2% relative to the fourth quarter of 2008.

In the U.S., our growth was supported by an overall increase in leasing demand from customers such as Clearwire as they ramped up spending to deploy first 4G data network in the U.S. and three of the four national carriers who continued to invest in their networks to prepare for and meet growing data demand. In addition, our international businesses delivered another solid quarter with revenue attributable to our operations in Mexico, Brazil and India, now accounting for over 17% of our tower revenues.

During the quarter, foreign currency translation became a tailwind for our results as the Mexican Peso and the Brazilian Real both strengthened against the American dollar relative to the fourth quarter of 2008. I’d also like to highlight that we had just under $3 million of net non-recurring revenue items in the quarter. In addition, we remained focused and disciplined while evaluating opportunities to selectively deploy our capital.

We believe these investments will not only drive core growth in our portfolio, but also enhance our return on invested capital. Investment highlights during the quarter include the construction of over 350 towers across our portfolio, the production of 10 in-building DAS networks and the acquisition of over 500 towers in India and United States. So overall, we are very pleased with our strong finish to 2009.

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