American Tower Corporation (REIT) (AMT)

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American Tower Corporation (AMT)

Q4 2013 Results Earnings Conference Call

February 25, 2014; 08:30 a.m. ET


Jim Taiclet - Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer

Tom Bartlett - Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Leah Stearns - Vice President of Investor Relations


Simon Flannery - Morgan Stanley

Batya Levi - UBS

Jonathan Schildkraut - Evercore

Ric Prentiss - Raymond James

Jonathan Atkin - RBC Capital Markets

Imari Love - Morningstar

David Barden -Bank of America

Eric Frankel - Green Street Advisors



Good morning. My name is Carmine and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the American Tower, fourth quarter and full year 2013 earnings 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).

I would now turn the call over to Leah Stearns, Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer. Please go ahead.

Leah Stearns

Thank you, Carmine. Good morning and thank you for joining American Tower's, fourth quarter and full year 2013 earnings conference call. We have posted a presentation, which we will refer to throughout our prepared remarks under the Investor Relations tab on our website,

Our agenda for this morning's call will be as follows. First, Jim Taiclet, our Chairman, President and CEO will provide opening remarks. Then Tom Bartlett, our Executive Vice President and CFO will review our financial and operational performance for the fourth quarter and full year 2013, as well as our outlook for 2014; and after these comments we will open up the call for your questions.

Before we 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 those regarding our 2014 outlook and future operating performance, including AFFO growth and dividend per share growth, our capital allocation strategy including our redistribution and any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts.

You should be aware that certain factors may affect U.S. 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, those set forth in our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2013, and in 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 subsequent events or circumstances.

And with that, I’d like to turn the call over to Jim.

Jim Taiclet

Thanks Leah and good morning to everyone. A year ago we reestablished an aspirational goal of once again doubling our AFFO per share by 2017, as we had previous done in the 2007 to 2012 timeframe. Today I’m pleased to report that we’re well on track to meet our re-doubling goal.

In 2013 we drove record levels of organic growth in both our U.S. and international segments and added over 10,000 sites to our global asset base through the acquisitions of the GTP and NII portfolios and our ongoing site construction program. We continue to implement our disciplined investment strategy and to drive operational execution, which we believe has positioned American Tower for sustainable and consistent growth for years to come.

During the more than 12 years that I have been at the company we’ve purposely and methodically expanded our asset base to over 67,000 towers that deliver strong organic growth, as well as the highest margins in our industry. Today I’ll cover three main topics before turning it over to Tom for the details on our 2013 results and 2014 outlook.

First I’ll discuss the solid foundation we built in the U.S. in which we expect to generate 66% of our 2014 rental revenue through our high quality asset base, operational acumen and solid customer contracts. Next I’ll summaries how we extended our expertise to take advantage of robust, wireless growth trend outside of the U.S., through prudent investments and partnerships with large multinational wireless carriers. And finally I’ll outline how our legacy portfolio and newly acquired assets together should enable us to continue generating at least mid-teen annual core growth and AFFO per share for the foreseeable future.

So, turning to slide five, the quality of our U.S. properties and our strong contractual arrangements with the big four wireless carriers have led to sustained out performance in our domestic business.

Throughout our history we have focused on purchasing assets constructed by third party tower providers like us, or by cellular operators, both of whom have traditionally invested signification timing capital in developing the quality and maintenance of the tower structure, along with relatively generous ground space with favorable land lease terms.

We believe that our domestic sites are very well positioned for the long-term growth for a number of reasons. First, of these is the structural capacity of our towers is substantial. With approximately 2.5 tenants per tower versus the design capacity of typically around 5 tenants, the vast majorities of our properties in the U.S. have significant incremental structural capacity without the need for redevelopment capital spending. Our average tower height of approximately 210 feet provides ample vertical space for numerous platforms of transmission equipment as well.

Second, we believe that the locations of our U.S. sites position us well to capture significant incremental co-location. With the majority of our towers in suburban rural areas, our portfolio can take advantage of strong wireless usage trends in areas where macro-sites are and will remain the preferred deployment option for carriers, and this is from a cost technical performance and spectrum efficiency perspective.

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