A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Crown Castle International Corporation (CCI - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 3.4% in that time frame.
Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is CCI due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.
Crown Castle Posts Solid Q1 Earnings, Raises Outlook
Crown Castle’s first-quarter 2018 AFFO per share of $1.36 exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.34. It also compared favorably with the year-ago tally of $1.24 per share.
Results reflect increase in site rental revenues. The company continues to benefit from its extensive tower portfolio, high demand for infrastructure and slew of fiber-operator buyouts. Also, the company raised its outlook for 2018.
Net revenues for the quarter amounted to $1.29 billion and marked year-over-year growth of 27.9%. However, the figure narrowly missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.31 billion.
Site rental revenues were $1,153 million, up 34.5% year over year that included organic growth, as well as contributions from acquisitions and other items. Particularly, site rental revenues in the quarter experienced a $12-million benefit due to a long-term agreement signed with AT&T Inc. that includes contracted new leasing activity across towers and small cells. However, Network Services revenues came in at $146 million, down 8.2% year over year.
Quarterly operating income jumped 36.9% from the prior-year quarter to $349 million. Operating expenses also escalated 24.8% year over year to $950 million. Quarterly adjusted EBITDA was approximately $763 million, representing year-over-year increase of 31.3%.
Cash Flow and Liquidity
Crown Castle exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $220 million, down from $314 million reported at the end of the prior quarter. Further, as of Mar 31, 2018, the company generated $452 million of net cash from operating activities compared with $442 million in the year-ago period.
Total debt and other long-term obligations aggregated approximately $15,616 million, down from $16,044 million at the end of 2017.
During the reported quarter, Crown Castle paid common stock dividend of $1.05 per common share, up approximately 11% from the year-earlier quarter.
For second-quarter 2018, Crown Castle expects site rental revenues in the range of $1,153-$1,163 million. Site Rental cost of operation is projected at $348-$358 million. Adjusted EBITDA is estimated in the range of $757-$767 million. Interest expense (inclusive of amortization) is estimated in the $154-$164 million range. Meanwhile, FFO is anticipated in the $496-$506 million band, while AFFO is projected at $539-$549 million.
Crown Castle raised its outlook for full-year 2018. The company expects site rental revenues in the range of $4,639-$4,684 million, denoting a projected increase of $57 million at the mid-point from the prior issued outlook. Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated in the band of $3,097-$3,142 million, reflecting an uptick of $48 million at the mid-point. In addition, AFFO is guided in the band of $2,255-$2,300 million, marking a rise of $36 million at the mid-point.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates. There has been one revision higher for the current quarter compared to three lower.
At this time, CCI has an average Growth Score of C, though it is lagging a bit on the momentum front with a D. The stock was also allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
The company's stock is suitable solely for growth based on our styles scores.
Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, CCI has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.