SBA Communications' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

SBA Communications Corporation ( SBAC)

Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call

February 24, 2012 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Mark DeRussy – Director of Finance

Jeffrey Stoops – President and CEO

Brendan Cavanagh – SVP and CFO

Analysts

Ric Prentiss – Raymond James

Philip Cusick – JP Morgan

Jonathan Schildkraut – Evercore Partners

David Barden – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Simon Flannery – Morgan Stanley

Jason Armstrong – Goldman Sachs

James Ratcliffe – Barclays Capital

Suhail Chandy – Wedbush Securities

Michael Rollins – Citi Investment Research

Kevin Smithen – Macquarie Securities

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the SBA Fourth Quarter Results Conference Call. (Operator instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I will now turn the conference over to Mark DeRussy, Director of Finance. Please go ahead, sir.

Mark DeRussy

Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us for SBA’s fourth quarter 2011 earnings conference call. Here with me today are Jeff Stoops, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Brendan Cavanagh, our Chief Financial Officer. Some of the information we will discuss on this call is forward-looking, including but not limited to any guidance for 2012 and beyond. These forward-looking statements may be affected by the risks and uncertainties in our business. Everything we say here today is qualified in its entirety by cautionary statements and risk factors set forth in last night’s press release and our SEC filings, which documents are publicly available.

These factors and others have affected historical results, may affect future results and may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements we may make. Our statements are as of today, February 24, 2012, and we have no obligation to update any forward-looking statements we may make.

Our comments today will include non-GAAP financial measures as defined in Regulation G. The reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures and the other information required by Regulation G has been posted on our website.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Brendan to comment on our fourth quarter results.

Brendan Cavanagh

Thanks Mark. Good morning. As you saw from our press release last night, our fourth quarter financial and operational results were very strong. We exceeded the high-end of our guidance for site leasing revenues, and tower cash flow, and produced adjusted EBITDA and equity free cash flow at the high-end of our outlook.

Total revenues were $183.8 million, up 11.1% over the year earlier period. Site leasing revenues for the fourth quarter were $165.1 million or a 17.9% increase over the fourth quarter of 2010.

Our site leasing revenue growth was driven by organic growth, portfolio growth and the straight line impact of our Sprint Network Vision agreement. The vast majority of our site leasing revenue comes from the US and its territories with approximately 3.4% of total leasing revenue coming from international operations.

Site leasing segmenting operating profit was $131.2 million or an increase of 18.8% over the fourth quarter of 2010. Site leasing contributed 98.3% of our total segment operating profit. Tower cash flow for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $127.5 million or a 14.6% increase over the year earlier period. As is our custom, tower cash flow excludes any non-cash straight-line benefit from our Sprint Network Vision agreement, or any other source. Tower cash flow margin was 80.5% compared to 80.3% in the year earlier period.

Operationally, we are experiencing strong leasing demand both domestically and internationally. Amendments, which were predominantly from AT&T and Verizon, continue to be numerous and contributed approximately one half of total incremental leasing revenue added in the quarter.

Our leasing backlog right now remains solid. Demand seems to be increasing, and we expect that the first quarter will be another strong one in terms of customer activity. Our services revenues were $18.7 million compared to $25.4 million in the year earlier period. This decline reflects in part a slowdown in activity from a principal customer in the fourth quarter that appears to be correcting itself now in 2012.

Services segment operating profit was $2.3 million in the fourth quarter compared to $3.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. Services segment operating profit margin was 12.4% compared to 12.8% in the year earlier period.

SG&A expenses for the fourth quarter were $15.8 million including non-cash compensation charges of $2.7 million. SG&A expenses were $15 million in the year earlier period, including non-cash compensation charges of $2.6 million. We are particularly pleased with our ability to grow our company materially, while holding SG&A expense relatively steady.

Adjusted EBITDA was $117.3 million or a 14.1% increase over the year earlier period. Adjusted EBITDA margin continued to grow and was 66.2% in the fourth quarter of 2011 up from 62.7% in the year earlier period, a 350 basis point increase.

Equity free cash flow for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $70 million compared to $61.4 million in the year earlier period, an increase of 13.9%. Equity free cash flow per share for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $0.64 compared to $0.53 in the year earlier period, an increase of 20.8%. Our strong growth in equity free cash flow per share is a result of solid adjusted EBITDA growth combined with a declining share count.

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