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Crown Castle (CCI) Q1 Earnings Top, Revenues Lag; View Up

Crown Castle International Corp. CCI reported mixed financial numbers in the first quarter of 2016, wherein the top line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate while the bottom line surpassed the same.

The company reported earnings per share of $1.18, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.09. However, GAAP net income fell over 67% year over year to $36.8 million. Net revenue in the quarter increased 3.8% year over year to $934.4 million but lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $937 million.

Gross margin in the reported quarter was 64.3% compared with 64.6% in the year-ago quarter. Operating income came in at $211.7 million compared with $244.9 million in the prior-year quarter. Quarterly adjusted EBITDA was approximately $539.1 million, representing a year-over-year increase of 1.9%.

Cash Flow

During the first quarter of 2016, funds flow from operations (FFO) totaled $316.3 million against $356.9 million in the prior-year quarter. FFO per share in the quarter stood at 94 cents, down 12.1% year over year. Quarterly adjusted funds flow from operations (AFFO) was $395.2 million compared with $365.7 million in the year-ago quarter. AFFO per share in the first quarter was $1.18 versus $1.10 in the year-ago quarter.

Balance Sheet

At the end of first-quarter 2016, Crown Castle had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $175.7 million on its balance sheet compared with $178.8 million at the end of 2015. At first-quarter end, debt and other long-term obligations totaled approximately $11,866 million against roughly $12,150 million at the end of 2015. The debt-to-capitalization ratio at the end of the first quarter stood at 0.62 in comparison to the 2015-end figure of 0.63.

Site Rental Segment

Quarterly revenues were $799.3 million, up 9.3% year over year. Gross margin at the segment was 68.4% compared with 68.3% in the prior-year quarter.

Network Services Segment

Quarterly revenues were $135.1 million, down 20.1% year over year. Gross margin was 40.1% against 48.6% in the prior-year quarter.

Outlook for Second-Quarter 2016

For the second quarter, Crown Castle expects Site Rental revenues in the range of $801 million to $806 million. Site Rental cost of operation is projected in the band of $251 million to $256 million. Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated between $543 million and $548 million. Site Rental gross margin is expected in the band of $547--$552 million. Interest expense (inclusive of amortization) is estimated in the range of $128–$133 million. Meanwhile, FFO is anticipated in the $363–$368 million range. AFFO is projected in the $389–$394 million range and AFFO per share is estimated in the band of $1.15–$1.16 per share. Net income is forecasted at $82–$115 million and net income per share in the band of 21 to 31 cents per share.

Outlook for Full-Year 2016

Crown Castle has raised its outlook for full-year 2016. The company now expects Site Rental revenues in the range of $3,207–$3,232 million. Site Rental cost of operation is projected in the $1006–$1,031 million band. Site Rental gross margin is expected between $2,191 million and 2,216 million. Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated between $2,193 million and $2,218 million. Interest expense (inclusive of amortization) is estimated in the $513–$533 million range. FFO is projected at the $1,428–$1,453 million band. AFFO is expected between $1,585 million and $1,610 million while AFFO per share is estimated in the range of $4.66--$4.73 per share. Net income is anticipated between $325 million and $424 million and net income per share in the band of 83 cents to $1.12 per share.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Crown Castle presently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other favorably ranked stocks in this sector are CoreSite Realty Corporation COR, Hersha Hospitality Trust HT and Lamar Advertising Co. LAMR. All three stocks currently carry the same Zacks Rank as Crown Castle.

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CROWN CASTLE (CCI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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HERSHA HOSPTLY (HT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CORESITE REALTY (COR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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