Strong Backlog, Tax Reform, Momentum in Segments Aid MasTec

On Jun 11, we issued an updated research report on MasTec, Inc.MTZ . The company is likely to benefit from strong backlog and growth prospects across its segments. Recent acquisitions will also drive growth.

Let's analyze these growth factors in detail.

A Record Performance Likely in 2018

MasTec delivered a record financial performance in 2017. As of first quarter 2018 end, the company's 18-month backlog was a record $7.6 billion, an increase of 33% from the prior-year quarter end. This included record segment level backlog in Communications, Oil & Gas and Power Generation & Industrial. Backed by record backlog and solid demand for its services across multiple markets, the company expects to deliver an even better performance in 2018.

The company projects 2018 annual revenues to be at record levels of $6.9 billion. Revenue growth will primarily be driven by the Communications, Transmission and Power Generation segments. Power Generation & Industrial segment will exhibit sizable growth driven by the backlog generated from the combination of increased renewable project activity, and the expansion of services into biomass and other smaller production facilities.

The Communications segment will benefit from fiber deployments, FirstNet and the beginning of 5G rollouts. The Transmission and Power Generation business will continue to gain from backlog growth. The pipeline business is poised to benefit from a large multi-year cycle of large project buildouts.

MasTec anticipates record adjusted earnings per share of $3.65, which marks a rise of 25% over the prior-year levels, higher than its previous guidance of $3.45. Additionally, it estimates adjusted EBITDA be around $700 million, up from its previous guidance of $685 million.

Tax Reform to Aid Both Revenues and Margins

The recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will be a catalyst for MasTec. The company's adjusted tax rate will be around 29.5% of pre-tax earnings in 2018 compared with 39% adjusted rate for 2017. The company is also likely to experience an even greater cash tax benefit going forward due to the acceleration of tax deductions on capital expenditures. In addition to this direct benefit, several of its large customers have announced incremental capital expenditures in 2018 and beyond, owing to the tax reform. This will boost MasTec's revenues in turn.

Immense Scope in Wireless & Wireline Businesses

MasTec's wireless business has significant potential given that substantial investments are expected in wireless infrastructure related to the densification associated with 5G deployment. Every major carrier has publicly announced plans and initiatives for 5G. Moreover, AT&T Inc. T was awarded FirstNet - a nationwide public safety wireless network. In the recent announcement between T-Mobile and Sprint Corporation S , management guided to a potential network investment of $40 billion over a three-year period.

In its wireline markets, fiber expansion continues to be a catalyst. It is just the beginning of the most aggressive fiber build cycles in its history. A number of customers are aggressively deploying fiber assets, and these levels will significantly increase in 2018, with a considerable ramp up in 2019. The company anticipates strong nationwide fiber deployment projects from both telephone companies and cable TV companies that will provide it with significant opportunities over the coming years.

Acquisitions to Drive Revenues

In 2017, MasTec completed three acquisitions. The company acquired SEFNCO Communications, Inc., a telecommunications service provider, which will expand MasTec's geographic and customer capacity in the wireline/fiber deployment market. Further, its buyout of Texas-based infrastructure construction company - Cash Construction - will provide exposure to the growing water market.

The company also acquired a leasing company of Oil & Gas specialty pipeline equipment. This buyout is anticipated to help prune overall equipment costs as well as provide a competitive advantage during the current multi-year cycle of significant Oil & Gas pipeline project activity. Furthermore, the geographic expansion of heavy civil operations and entry into the water, sewer and drainage systems infrastructure market operations will enable the company to capitalize on the increasing demand trends in this market.

Share Price Performance

Over the past six months, MasTec has outperformed its industry with respect to price performance. The stock has gained around 7%, while the industry declined 5%.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

MasTec currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Some other top-ranked stocks in the same sector are PGT, Inc. PGTI and Armstrong World Industries, Inc. AWI . While PGT carries the same rank as MasTec, Armstrong World carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

PGT has a long-term earnings growth rate of 19.3%. Its shares have appreciated 33% over the past six months.

Armstrong World has a long-term earnings growth rate of 17.3%. The company's shares have gained 8% during the past six months.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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