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American Tower Raised to Hold on Organic Growth Scope

On Apr 5, Zacks Investment Research upgraded leading international wireless tower operator American Tower Corporation AMT to a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) from a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

The company reported strong financial numbers in the fourth quarter of 2015, with both the top and the bottom line outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Notably, in order to support the rising demand for LTE, American Tower plans to construct nearly 2,500 sites globally in 2016. Meanwhile, India, EMEA and Latin American markets together accounted for nearly 50% of the organic core revenue growth. Increased spending on 4G LTE networks has resulted in the massive upside in organic revenues.

Interestingly, American Tower has been focusing on India lately. The company entered into a definitive agreement with Tata Group, finance group Srei and the remaining minority holders to acquire a majority stake (51%) in Indian wireless tower operator, Viom Networks. This transaction will not only increase the tower count to 57,000, but will also help build stronger ties with mobile network operators, such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Tata, Reliance and Aircel.

Moreover, only recently, American Tower forayed into Tanzania through its latest tower deal with Bharti Airtel. This deal extends American Tower’s portfolio reach and should aid top-line growth as well.

Additionally, the board of directors of American Tower has approved a 4.1% hike in its quarterly cash dividend of common stock to 51 cents per share from 49 cents paid earlier. The dividend hike should bolster investor confidence in the stock and therefore improve its market position.

However, customer concentration and consolidation woes coupled with integration and foreign currency exchange rate risks, stiff competition and a highly leveraged balance sheet are potent headwinds for the company.

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Extra Space Storage Inc. EXR, Communications Sales & Leasing, Inc. CSAL and DCT Industrial Trust Inc. DCT. The companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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AMER TOWER CORP (AMT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
EXTRA SPACE STG (EXR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DCT INDUSTRIAL (DCT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
COMMUNICTNS S&L (CSAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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