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American Tower Hikes Dividend

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The board of directors of American Tower Corporation. (AMT - Free Report) recently announced a 8.3% or 2 cents hike in its quarterly cash dividend to 26 cents per share, resulting in a current dividend yield of 1.26%. The increased dividend will be paid on Apr 25, 2013 to shareholders of record, at the close of business on Apr 10, 2013.

The company started functioning as a Real Estate Investment trust (REIT) from Jan 1, 2012, after completing the merger with its wholly owned subsidiary American Tower REIT Inc., on Dec 31, 2011.

Following the conversion, American Tower will be required to pay less tax as the company will distribute 90% of its earnings through dividends every year.

The company declared its first dividend of 21 cents per share on Mar 22, 2012 and paid successive dividends of 22 cents, 23 cents and 24 cents in the next three quarters, hence taking its annual tally to 90 cents per share, which is nearly 56% of the total net profit distributed as dividends. However, the company missed the target for the year 2012 by a huge margin. The company also maintained its next five-year annual dividend growth target in the range of 20%

Earlier, in order to qualify as a REIT, American Tower paid a special dividend of 35 cents per share to its shareholders on Dec 23, 2011.

Other Stocks to Consider

American Tower currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the wireless tower industry include Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI - Free Report) , SBA Communication Corp. (SBAC - Free Report) and Equinix Inc. (EQIX - Free Report) . All the 3 stocks currently have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and never declared any cash dividend to date.

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