SBA Communications Corporation Reports Second Quarter 2019 Results

 Updates Full Year 2019 Outlook; and Declares First Cash Dividend

BOCA RATON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SBA Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: SBAC) (“SBA” or the “Company”) today reported results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019.

Highlights of the second quarter include:

  • Strong operating results in both the leasing and site development businesses
  • Net income of $32.0 million or $0.28 per share
  • AFFO per share growth of 15.8% over the year earlier period on a constant currency basis
  • Will increase investment in and consolidate Atlas Tower South Africa, adding approximately 900 sites and a substantial backlog of new tower builds
  • Increased 2019 Outlook for Revenue, TCF, Adjusted EBITDA and AFFO per share

In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors declared its first cash dividend of $0.37 per share of Class A common stock, payable September 25, 2019, to shareholders of record on August 28, 2019

“The second quarter was a special one for SBA, as it was the first in our history where we earned $500 million in revenue,” commented Jeffrey A. Stoops, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We continued to see strong activity in both our leasing and services segments. Second quarter results ahead of our projections and expectations of continued strength in customer activity in the second half of 2019 have allowed us to increase our full year outlook for 2019. In the US, wireless customer activity remains very strong, as it has all year and we believe that strength will continue into 2020 as our customers remain on a multi-year path to provide 5G service. Given the most recent regulatory news related to the T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint, including date-certain 5G coverage requirements, it appears that substantial 5G network development will continue in the US for many years to come from four, nationwide, facilities-based wireless carriers. Internationally, activity levels are more varied by market, but activity in Brazil, our largest market, remains very strong. These strong operating results once again led to double-digit growth in AFFO per share. Our financial condition continues to be in excellent shape with a strong ability to organically de-lever quickly, as evidenced by our net debt/adjusted EBITDA ratio dropping to 6.9x notwithstanding some healthy investments in assets and stock repurchases. Given the strength of our operating results, financial condition and future prospects, management and our Board of Directors decided it was time for another milestone – the initiation of a cash dividend. We are very pleased to add a dividend to the tools we have to generate increasing value for our shareholders, and excited to look to the future as to the additional value we believe we can create.”

Operating Results

The table below details select financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2019 and comparisons to the prior year period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

excluding

 

 

Q2 2019

 

Q2 2018

 

$ Change

 

% Change

 

FX 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated

 

($ in millions, except per share amounts)

Site leasing revenue

 

$

459.0

 

$

429.9

 

 

$

29.1

 

 

6.8%

 

 

8.1%

Site development revenue

 

 

41.1

 

 

26.4

 

 

 

14.7

 

 

55.6%

 

 

55.6%

Tower cash flow 1

 

 

367.9

 

 

337.6

 

 

 

30.3

 

 

9.0%

 

 

10.0%

Net income

 

 

32.0

 

 

(57.3

)

 

 

89.3

 

 

NM 2

 

 

NM 2

Earnings per share – diluted

 

 

0.28

 

 

(0.50

)

 

 

0.78

 

 

NM 2

 

 

NM 2

Adjusted EBITDA 1

 

 

347.2

 

 

318.9

 

 

 

28.3

 

 

8.9%

 

 

9.9%

AFFO 1

 

 

240.1

 

 

213.5

 

 

 

26.6

 

 

12.5%

 

 

14.0%

AFFO per share 1

 

 

2.09

 

 

1.83

 

 

 

0.26

 

 

14.2%

 

 

15.8%

1.

See the reconciliations and other disclosures under “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” later in this press release.

2.

NM – Not Meaningful

Total revenues in the second quarter of 2019 were $500.1 million compared to $456.3 million in the year earlier period, an increase of 9.6%. Site leasing revenue in the quarter of $459.0 million was comprised of domestic site leasing revenue of $369.2 million and international site leasing revenue of $89.8 million. Domestic cash site leasing revenue was $366.7 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to $343.5 million in the year earlier period, an increase of 6.8%. International cash site leasing revenue was $89.4 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to $81.3 million in the year earlier period, an increase of 10.1%, or 16.8% excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates.

Site leasing operating profit was $365.5 million, an increase of 8.7% over the year earlier period. Site leasing contributed 97.3% of the Company’s total operating profit in the second quarter of 2019. Domestic site leasing segment operating profit was $303.6 million, an increase of 8.8% over the year earlier period. International site leasing segment operating profit was $61.9 million, an increase of 8.2% over the year earlier period.

Tower Cash Flow for the second quarter of 2019 of $367.9 million was comprised of Domestic Tower Cash Flow of $306.0 million and International Tower Cash Flow of $61.9 million. Domestic Tower Cash Flow for the quarter increased 8.5% over the prior year period and International Tower Cash Flow increased 11.1% over the prior year period. Tower Cash Flow Margin was 80.7% for the second quarter of 2019, as compared to 79.5% for the year earlier period.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $347.2 million, an 8.9% increase over the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA Margin was 69.8% in the second quarter of 2019 compared to 70.7% in the second quarter of 2018.

Net Cash Interest Expense was $95.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to $92.0 million in the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 4.2%.

Net income for the second quarter of 2019 was $32.0 million, or $0.28 per share, and included a $6.0 million gain, net of taxes, on the currency related remeasurement of U.S. dollar denominated intercompany loans with a Brazilian subsidiary, while net loss for the second quarter of 2018 was $57.4 million, or $(0.50) per share, and included a $58.7 million loss, net of taxes, on the currency related remeasurement of U.S. dollar denominated intercompany loans with a Brazilian subsidiary.

AFFO for the quarter was $240.1 million, a 12.5% increase over the prior year period. AFFO per share for the second quarter of 2019 was $2.09, a 14.2% increase over the prior year period.

Investing Activities

During the second quarter of 2019, SBA purchased 82 communication sites for total cash consideration of $83.0 million. SBA also built 87 towers during the second quarter of 2019. As of June 30, 2019, SBA owned or operated 29,845 communication sites, 16,371 of which are located in the United States and its territories, and 13,474 of which are located internationally. In addition, the Company spent $12.6 million to purchase land and easements and to extend lease terms. Total cash capital expenditures for the second quarter of 2019 were $132.3 million, consisting of $8.6 million of non-discretionary cash capital expenditures (tower maintenance and general corporate) and $123.7 million of discretionary cash capital expenditures (new tower builds, tower augmentations, acquisitions, and purchasing land and easements).

Subsequent to the second quarter of 2019, the Company acquired 59 communication sites for an aggregate consideration of $17.9 million in cash. In addition, the Company has agreed to purchase and anticipates closing on 125 additional communication sites for an aggregate amount of $45.7 million. The Company anticipates that the majority of these acquisitions will be consummated by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Announcement of Operations in South Africa

In the third quarter of 2019, the Company intends to exercise and close on its option to acquire all but 6.0% of a previously unconsolidated joint venture in South Africa. The joint venture is currently operated under the name Atlas Tower South Africa (“Atlas SA”). SBA has been a venture partner, providing investment and operational support for approximately four years. Atlas SA currently owns and operates approximately 900 sites throughout all of South Africa and has a substantial new tower development backlog. The cumulative amount anticipated to be invested by the Company in Atlas SA through the closing is approximately USD $140.0 million. Based on current foreign currency exchange rates, Atlas SA is expected to generate annual revenues and Adjusted EBITDA during its first full year of operation after the closing of approximately USD $31.0 million and USD $21.0 million, respectively. The Company’s 2019 Outlook has been updated to include the impact of this transaction.

“We are very excited to announce our operations in South Africa through Atlas Tower South Africa,” commented Jeffrey A. Stoops, President and CEO. “Atlas SA builds tremendous assets and has a very talented team, which we know first-hand having been involved in the venture now for four years and knowing the CEO of the venture for 20 years. We believe South Africa represents a fantastic growth opportunity, with many of the same, or better, qualities and characteristics that we have enjoyed in our existing markets. We look forward to incremental growth opportunities throughout South Africa over the coming years as the wireless carriers in this market continue to invest meaningfully in 4G and, at some point, 5G deployments.”

Financing Activities and Liquidity

SBA ended the second quarter of 2019 with $9.8 billion of total debt, $7.2 billion of total secured debt, $150.0 million of cash and cash equivalents, short-term restricted cash, and short-term investments, and $9.6 billion of Net Debt. SBA’s Net Debt and Net Secured Debt to Annualized Adjusted EBITDA Leverage Ratios were 6.9x and 5.1x, respectively.

On May 23, 2019, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, SBA Senior Finance II LLC, entered into a four year interest rate swap on a portion of it 2018 Term Loan. The Company swapped $750.0 million of notional value accruing interest at one month LIBOR plus 200 basis points for a fixed rate of 4.08% per annum.

As of the date of this press release, the Company had no amount outstanding under the $1.25 billion Revolving Credit Facility.

During the second quarter of 2019, the Company repurchased 0.5 million shares of its Class A common stock for $94.6 million, at an average price per share of $204.06.

Today, July 29, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a new $1.0 billion stock repurchase plan, replacing the prior plan authorized on February 16, 2018 which had a remaining authorization of $110.0 million. This new plan authorizes the Company to purchase, from time to time, up to $1.0 billion of our outstanding Class A common stock through open market repurchases in compliance with Rule 10b-18 under the Exchange Act and/or in privately negotiated transactions at management’s discretion based on market and business conditions, applicable legal requirements and other factors. Shares repurchased will be retired. The new plan has no time deadline and will continue until otherwise modified or terminated by the Company’s Board of Directors at any time in its sole discretion.

Declaration of First Cash Dividend

Today, July 29, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors declared the Company’s first quarterly cash dividend of 37 cents per share on shares of the Company’s Class A common stock. The dividend will be payable on September 25, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 28, 2019. Future dividends are subject to the approval of the Company’s Board of Directors. SBA expects to continue to invest its cash flow after dividends consistent with its past practice of investing in acquisitions, the construction of new sites, land purchases and the repurchase of its own shares.

“We are excited to announce the initiation of a quarterly dividend later this year, as another method of returning value to our shareholders,” commented Brendan T. Cavanagh, Chief Financial Officer. “By initiating a dividend today at a lesser amount than our anticipated 2021 dividend obligations would otherwise require, we create greater operational and capital structure flexibility, and the ability to grow the dividend at a higher rate over a longer period of time. Based on our expectation for growth in our business, we believe we can grow our dividend by at least 20% annually for the next several years.”

Outlook

The Company is updating its full year 2019 Outlook for anticipated results. The Outlook provided is based on a number of assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable at the time of this press release. Information regarding potential risks that could cause the actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements is set forth below and in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Company’s full year 2019 Outlook assumes the acquisitions of only those communication sites under contract and anticipated to close at the time of this press release, including the impact of the Company exercising its option on the South Africa joint venture. The Company may spend additional capital in 2019 on acquiring revenue producing assets not yet identified or under contract, the impact of which is not reflected in the 2019 guidance. The Outlook also does not contemplate any additional repurchases of the Company’s stock during the remainder of 2019 but does include the impact of the announced dividend. The Outlook contemplates one new financing during the third quarter of 2019 to refinance the Company’s 2014-1C Tower Securities. The assumed interest rate of this new financing is 3.5%. There are no additional new financings contemplated in our 2019 Outlook.

The Company’s Outlook assumes an average foreign currency exchange rate of 3.80 Brazilian Reais to 1.0 U.S. Dollar, 1.30 Canadian Dollars to 1.0 U.S. Dollar, and 14.2 South African Rand to 1.0 U.S. Dollar throughout the last two quarters of 2019. When compared to the Company’s full year 2019 Outlook provided April 29, 2019, the variances in the actual second quarter foreign currency exchange rates versus the Company’s assumptions, and the changes in the Company’s foreign currency rate assumptions for the remainder of the year positively impacted the full year 2019 Outlook by approximately $2.8 million for Site Lease Revenue, $1.8 million for Tower Cash Flow, and $1.7 million for Adjusted EBITDA and AFFO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(in millions, except per share amounts)

Full Year 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site leasing revenue 1

$

1,844.0

to

$

1,864.0

Site development revenue

$

130.0

to

$

150.0

Total revenues

$

1,974.0

to

$

2,014.0

Tower Cash Flow 2

$

1,480.0

to

$

1,500.0

Adjusted EBITDA 2

$

1,395.0

to

$

1,415.0

Net cash interest expense 3

$

380.0

to

$

390.0

Non-discretionary cash capital expenditures 4

$

29.0

to

$

39.0

AFFO 2

$

943.0

to

$

989.0

AFFO per share 2, 5

$

8.20

to

$

8.60

Discretionary cash capital expenditures 6

$

425.0

to

$

445.0

1.

The Company’s Outlook for site leasing revenue includes revenue associated with pass through reimbursable expenses.

2.

See the reconciliation of this non-GAAP financial measure presented below under “Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

3.

Net cash interest expense is defined as interest expense less interest income. Net cash interest expense does not include amortization of deferred financing fees or non-cash interest expense.

4.

Consists of tower maintenance and general corporate capital expenditures.

5.

Outlook for AFFO per share is calculated by dividing the Company’s outlook for AFFO by an assumed weighted average number of diluted common shares of 115.0 million. Our Outlook does not include the impact of any potential future repurchases of the Company’s stock during 2019.

6.

Consists of new tower builds, tower augmentations, communication site acquisitions and ground lease purchases. Does not include expenditures for acquisitions of revenue producing assets not under contract at the date of this press release.

Conference Call Information

SBA Communications Corporation will host a conference call on Monday, July 29, 2019 at 5:00 PM (EST) to discuss the quarterly results. The call may be accessed as follows:

When:

Monday, July 29, 2019 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

Dial-in Number:

(844) 767-5679

Access Code:

2647145

Conference Name:

SBA second quarter results

Replay Available:

July 29, 2019 at 11:00 PM to August 12, 2019 at 11:59 PM (TZ: Eastern)

Replay Number:

(866) 207-1041 – Access Code: 5653388

Internet Access:

www.sbasite.com

Information regarding Sprint and T-Mobile

SBA is providing the following information in light of the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, Sprint accounted for 15.1% and T-Mobile accounted for 17.2% of SBA’s total consolidated site leasing revenue.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, on sites where both companies had separate leases for antenna space, the cash site leasing revenue generated from Sprint represented approximately 6.4% of SBA’s consolidated cash site leasing revenue and the cash site leasing revenue generated from T-Mobile represented approximately 6.5% of SBA’s consolidated cash site leasing revenue, excluding and incremental to the impact from previously disclosed expected consolidation churn from T-Mobile’s MetroPCS and Sprint’s Clearwire and IDEN networks. The average remaining non-cancellable current lease term on these sites is 4.6 years with Sprint and 4.3 years with T-Mobile.

Information Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This press release and our earnings call include forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Company’s expectations or beliefs regarding (i) customer demand and its ability to capture demand, (ii) the number of facilities-based carriers, carrier investment and 5G deployment, (iii) the Company’s portfolio growth goals, its strategy with respect to portfolio growth and opportunities throughout its domestic and international markets, (iv) capital allocation and the Company’s target net debt leverage range, (v) the Company’s financial and operational guidance for the full year 2019, the assumptions it made and the drivers contributing to the increase in its full year guidance, (vi) the timing of closing for currently pending acquisitions and the exercise of the Atlas SA option, (vii) growth opportunities in the South Africa market, the characteristics of that market as compared to the Company’s existing markets, carrier investment in that market and estimated future results of Atlas SA, (viii) dividends, the Company’s expected future dividend growth rate, including the drivers of expected growth, and its expectations with respect to capital allocation, (ix) additional capital spending in 2019 and the Company’s capital allocation mix, including allocating capital to share repurchases, portfolio growth and dividends, (x) its belief that 2019 will be a strong year for the Company, (xi) financing of indebtedness in 2019, and (xii) foreign exchange rates and their impact on the Company’s financial and operational guidance.

The Company wishes to caution readers that these forward-looking statements may be affected by the risks and uncertainties in the Company’s business as well as other important factors may have affected and could in the future affect the Company’s actual results and could cause the Company’s actual results for subsequent periods to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement made by or on behalf of the Company. With respect to the Company’s expectations regarding all of these statements, including its financial and operational guidance, such risk factors include, but are not limited to: (1) the ability and willingness of wireless service providers to maintain or increase their capital expenditures; (2) the Company’s ability to identify and acquire sites at prices and upon terms that will provide accretive portfolio growth; (3) the Company’s ability to accurately identify and manage any risks associated with its acquired sites, to effectively integrate such sites into its business and to achieve the anticipated financial results; (4) the Company’s ability to secure and retain as many site leasing tenants as planned at anticipated lease rates; (5) the impact of continued consolidation among wireless service providers, including the impact of the potential T-Mobile and Sprint merger, on the Company’s leasing revenue; (6) the Company’s ability to successfully manage the risks associated with international operations, including risks associated with foreign currency exchange rates; (7) the Company’s ability to secure and deliver anticipated services business at contemplated margins; (8) the Company’s ability to maintain expenses and cash capital expenditures at appropriate levels for its business while seeking to attain its investment goals; (9) the Company’s ability to acquire land underneath towers on terms that are accretive; (10) the economic climate for the wireless communications industry in general and the wireless communications infrastructure providers in particular in the United States, Brazil, and internationally; (11) the Company’s ability to obtain future financing at commercially reasonable rates or at all; (12) the ability of the Company to achieve its long-term stock repurchases strategy, which will depend, among other things, on the trading price of the Company’s common stock, which may be positively or negatively impacted by the repurchase program, market and business conditions; (13) the Company’s ability to achieve the new builds targets included in its anticipated annual portfolio growth goals, which will depend, among other things, on obtaining zoning and regulatory approvals, weather, availability of labor and supplies and other factors beyond the Company’s control that could affect the Company’s ability to build additional towers in 2019; and (14) the Company’s ability to meet its total portfolio growth, which will depend, in addition to the new build risks, on the availability of sufficient towers for sale to meet our targets, competition from third parties for such acquisitions and our ability to negotiate the terms of, and acquire, these potential tower portfolios on terms that meet our internal return criteria. With respect to its expectations regarding the ability to close pending acquisitions and the exercise of the Atlas SA option, these factors also include satisfactorily completing due diligence, the amount and quality of due diligence that the Company is able to complete prior to closing of any acquisition and its ability to accurately anticipate the future performance of the acquired towers, the ability to receive required regulatory approval, the ability and willingness of each party to fulfill their respective closing conditions and their contractual obligations and the availability of cash on hand or borrowing capacity under the Revolving Credit Facility to fund the consideration. With respect to the repurchases under the Company’s stock repurchase program, the amount of shares repurchased, if any, and the timing of such repurchases will depend on, among other things, the trading price of the Company’s common stock, which may be positively or negatively impacted by the repurchase program, market and business conditions, the availability of stock, the Company’s financial performance or determinations following the date of this announcement in order to use the Company’s funds for other purposes.

Contacts

Mark DeRussy, CFA

Capital Markets

561-226-9531

Lynne Hopkins

Media Relations

561-226-9431

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