SBA Communications' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

SBA Communications Corporation (SBAC)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 1, 2012, 10:00 a.m. ET

Executives

Mark DeRussy – Director of Finance

Jeffrey Stoops – President and CEO

Brendan Cavanagh – SVP and CFO

Analysts

Jonathan Atkin – RBC Capital Markets

Philip Cusick – JP Morgan

Ric Prentiss – Raymond James

David Barden – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Jonathan Chaplin – Credit Suisse

Jonathan Schildkraut – Evercore Partners

Simon Flannery – Morgan Stanley

James Ratcliffe – Barclays Capital

Jason Armstrong – Goldman Sachs

Suhail Chandy – Wedbush Securities

Brett Feldman - Deutsche Bank

Michael Rollins – Citi Investment Research

Colby Synesael – Cowen & Co.

Kevin Smithen – Macquarie Securities

Chris Larsen – Piper Jaffray

(Zach Corbett) – Macquarie Securities

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for holding. Welcome to the SBA First Quarter Results Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we conduct a question-and-answer session, instructions will be given at that time. (Operator instructions). As a reminder, the conference is being recorded.

I will now turn the conference over to the Director of Finance, Mr. Mark DeRussy. Please go ahead, sir.

Mark DeRussy

Thank you, Eddie, good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us for SBA’s first quarter 2012 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 in this call is forward-looking. This information includes, but is not limited to any guidance for 2012 and beyond, and other statements that are proceeded by or includes the words believe, expect, intend, estimates, anticipates, will, may, could, should, or similar expressions.

These forward-looking statements may be affected by the risks and uncertainties in our business and actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements. 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, including our annual report on Form 10-K, filed with the SEC on February 27, 2012, which documents are publicly available.

These factors and others have effected 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, May 1, 2012, and we have no obligation to update any forward-looking statements we may make.

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

With that, I will it over to Brendan to comment on our first quarter results.

Brendan Cavanagh

Thanks Mark. Good morning. As you saw from our press release last night, our first quarter financial and operational results were very strong. We exceeded the high-end of our guidance for equity free cash flow and our telecast flow and adjusted EBITDA results were both near the high-end of guidance.

Total revenues were $192.5 million, up 14.7% over the year earlier period. Site leasing revenues for the first quarter were $172.9 million, or an 18% increase over the first quarter of 2011. Our leasing revenue growth, driven by organic growth, portfolio and a straight line impact of our Sprint network agreement.

The vast majority of our site leasing revenue comes from the U.S. and its territories, with approximately 6% of total leasing revenue coming from international operations.

Site leasing segment operating profit was $137.5 million, or an increase of 20.1% over the first quarter of 2011. Site leasing contributed 98% of our total segment operating profit.

Tower cash flow for the first quarter of 2012 was $132.4 million or a 14.5% increase over the year-earlier period. Tower cash flow margin was 80.4% compared to 80% in the year earlier period.

We continue to experience strong leasing demand, both domestically and internationally. Amendments, which were predominantly from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint continue to be numerous and contributed over half of our total incremental leasing revenue added in the quarter.

The big four U.S. carriers contributed more than 75% of our total leasing activity in the quarter. We have a solid leasing backlog and expect that the second quarter will be another strong one in terms of customer activity.

Our services revenues for the first quarter were $19.6 million, right at the mid-point of our guidance, which compares to $21.3 million in the year earlier period. Services segment operating profit was $2.8 million in the first quarter, compared to $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Services segment operating profit margin was 14.2%, compared to 11.9% in the year earlier period. We expect increasing volume in our services business throughout 2012, driven primarily by higher network vision activity from Sprint.

SG&A expenses for the first quarter were $17.2 million, including non-cash compensation charges of $3 million. SG&A expenses were $15.9 million in the year-earlier period, including non-cash compensation charges of $2.7 million.

As a percentage of revenue, SG&A declined 50 basis points, compared to the first quarter of 2011. We expect SG&A expenses to continue to increase modestly in absolute amounts, but decline as a percentage of revenue as we grow our portfolio.

Adjusted EBITDA was $121.5 million, or a 15% increase over the year-earlier period. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 65.9% in the first quarter of 2012, up from 63.7% in the year earlier period; a 220 basis point increase.

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