Crown Castle International Reports First Quarter 2011 Results

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

HOUSTON, April 27, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE:CCI) today reported results for the quarter ended March 31, 2011.

"We had a good first quarter, exceeding our Outlook for site rental revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and recurring cash flow," stated Ben Moreland, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Site rental revenue grew 10%, adjusted for non-recurring items, and US services revenues grew 14%, compared to the same period in 2010. I am excited about our position relative to the deployment of the mobile Internet across a number of devices and wireless networks. With the largest tower portfolio in the most populated cities in the US and the highest level of customer service in our industry, we have a unique ability to benefit from the growth in mobile data services. We are benefiting from these mobile data deployments in our results, and I believe it is still early days in this next generation of wireless demand."

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL RESULTS

Total revenue for the first quarter of 2011 increased 12% to $499 million from $444 million in the same period in 2010. Site rental revenue for the first quarter of 2011 increased $49 million, or 12%, to $456 million from $407 million for the same period in the prior year. Site rental gross margin, defined as site rental revenue less site rental cost of operations, increased $45 million, or 15%, to $338 million in the first quarter of 2011 from $293 million in the same period in 2010. Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2011 increased $45 million, or 16%,to $319 million from $274 million in the same period in 2010. 

Recurring cash flow, defined as Adjusted EBITDA less interest expense and sustaining capital expenditures, increased 27% to $190 million for the first quarter of 2011, compared to $149 million in the first quarter of 2010.  Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding were 289.0 million for the first quarter of 2011, compared to 288.5 million for the same period in the prior year. Recurring cash flow per share, defined as recurring cash flow divided by diluted weighted average common shares outstanding, grew 27% to $0.66 in the first quarter of 2011, compared to $0.52 in the first quarter of 2010. 

Net income attributable to CCIC stockholders increased $159 million to $40 million for the first quarter of 2011, compared to net loss attributable to CCIC stockholders of $119 million for the same period in 2010. Net income attributable to CCIC stockholders after deduction of dividends on preferred stock was $35 million in the first quarter of 2011, compared to net loss attributable to CCIC stockholders after deduction of dividends on preferred stock of $125 million for the same period in 2010.  Net income attributable to CCIC common stockholders per common share was $0.12 for the first quarter of 2011, compared to net loss attributable to CCIC common stockholders per common share of $0.43 in the first quarter 2010.

FINANCING AND INVESTING ACTIVITIES

"We are pleased to have resumed purchasing our common shares, investing approximately 30% of our first quarter 2011 recurring cash flow in this activity," stated Jay Brown, Chief Financial Officer of Crown Castle.  "Further, we continue to see attractive investment opportunities in our distributed antenna systems business and believe this has the potential to be a meaningful component of our long-term organic revenue growth.  In the near term, consistent with some of the recent announcements by US wireless operators, the vast majority of our leasing activity is coming from the two largest wireless carriers in the US and a large number of relatively small wireless operators.  Our full year 2011 Outlook assumes that the leasing activity for the balance of 2011 remains similar to the activity that we saw in the first quarter.  We believe that we are likely to see an increase in leasing activity as we enter 2012, as well as an increase in the diversity of customers for that leasing activity.  As shown in our 2011 Outlook, we expect to produce an additional $540 million of recurring cash flow for the balance of 2011, which we expect to invest in activities that we believe will maximize long-term cash flow per share."

During the first quarter of 2011, Crown Castle invested approximately $52 million in capital expenditures, comprised of $22 million of land purchases, $3 million of sustaining capital expenditures and $27 million of revenue generating capital expenditures, the latter consisting of $16 million on existing sites and $11 million on the construction of new sites.  

Also, during the first quarter of 2011, Crown Castle purchased approximately 1.0 million of its common shares using $42.2 million in cash at an average price of $41.14 per share. In addition, in April 2011, Crown Castle purchased approximately 0.2 million of its common shares using $10.3 million in cash at an average price of $41.86 per share. Pro forma for the common shares purchased in April 2011, diluted common shares outstanding at March 31, 2011 were 288.9 million. Since January 2003, Crown Castle has spent $2.4 billion to purchase approximately 93.9 million of its common shares and potential shares, at an average price of $25.86 per share.

Crown Castle repaid $50 million of the revolving credit facility during the first quarter of 2011. Since April 1, 2011, Crown Castle has repaid an additional $15 million of the revolving credit facility. Pro forma for the purchase of its common shares, and after taking into account the aforementioned revolver repayments, Crown Castle had approximately $57 million in cash and cash equivalents (excluding restricted cash) as of March 31, 2011, and $308 million of availability under its revolving credit facility. 

IMPACT OF NON-RECURRING ITEMS AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE

First quarter 2011 site rental revenue benefited from $6.7 million in unexpected, non-recurring items comprised primarily of the non-cash impact related to licenses that were expected to, but did not, terminate as a result of carrier consolidation, and a termination fee related to a take-or-pay arrangement with a customer. In addition, site rental revenue also benefited by $2.6 million due to an 11% increase in the Australian dollar to US dollar exchange rate compared to our Outlook for exchange rates provided in January 2011. Further, first quarter 2011 Adjusted EBITDA benefited from the aforementioned $6.7 million in non-recurring items and $2 million due to the increase in the Australian dollar to US dollar exchange rate. 

OUTLOOK   

This Outlook section contains forward-looking statements, and actual results may differ materially. Information regarding potential risks which could cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements herein is set forth below and in Crown Castle's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC").  

The following Outlook table is based on current expectations and assumptions and assumes a US dollar to Australian dollar exchange rate of 1.00 US dollar to 1.00 Australian dollar for second quarter 2011. The second half of the year assumes a US dollar to Australian dollar exchange rate of 0.90 US dollars to 1.00 Australian dollar.

The following table sets forth Crown Castle's current Outlook for the second quarter and full year 2011:

CONFERENCE CALL DETAILS

Crown Castle has scheduled a conference call for Thursday, April 28, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. eastern time. The conference call may be accessed by dialing 480-629-9772 and asking for the Crown Castle call at least 30 minutes prior to the start time. The conference call may also be accessed live over the Internet at . Any supplemental materials for the call will be posted on the Crown Castle website at .

A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available from 12:30 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, April 28, 2011, through 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, May 5, 2011, and may be accessed by dialing 303-590-3030 using access code 4431675. An audio archive will also be available on the company's website at shortly after the call and will be accessible for approximately 90 days.

Crown Castle owns, operates, and leases towers and other infrastructure for wireless communications.  Crown Castle offers significant wireless communications coverage to 92 of the top 100 US markets and to substantially all of the Australian population.  Crown Castle owns, operates and manages over 22,000 and approximately 1,600 wireless communication sites in the US and Australia, respectively.  For more information on Crown Castle, please visit .

The Crown Castle International Corp. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3063

Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Other Calculations

This press release includes presentations of Adjusted EBITDA and recurring cash flow, which are non-GAAP financial measures.

Crown Castle defines Adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss) plus restructuring charges (credits), asset write-down charges, acquisition and integration costs, depreciation, amortization and accretion, interest expense and amortization of deferred financing costs, gains (losses) on purchases and redemptions of debt, net gain (loss) on interest rate swaps, impairment of available-for-sale securities, interest and other income (expense), benefit (provision) for income taxes, cumulative effect of change in accounting principle, income (loss) from discontinued operations and stock-based compensation expense. Adjusted EBITDA is not intended as an alternative measure of operating results or cash flow from operations (as determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP")). 

Crown Castle defines recurring cash flow to be Adjusted EBITDA, less interest expense and less sustaining capital expenditures. Each of the amounts included in the calculation of recurring cash flow are computed in accordance with GAAP, with the exception of sustaining capital expenditures, which is not defined under GAAP. We define sustaining capital expenditures as capital expenditures (determined in accordance with GAAP) which do not increase the capacity or life of our revenue generating assets and include capitalized costs related to (i) maintenance activities on our towers, (ii) vehicles, (iii) information technology equipment, and (iv) office equipment. Recurring cash flow is not intended as an alternative measure of cash flow from operations or operating results (as determined in accordance with GAAP). 

Adjusted EBITDA and recurring cash flow are presented as additional information because management believes these measures are useful indicators of the financial performance of our core businesses. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA is a measure of current financial performance used in our debt covenant calculations.  Our measures of Adjusted EBITDA and recurring cash flow may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies, including other companies in the tower sector. The tables set forth below reconcile these non-GAAP financial measures to comparable GAAP financial measures. The components in these tables may not sum to the total due to rounding.

Reconciliations of Non-GAAP Financial Measures to Comparable GAAP Financial Measures:

Other Calculations:

Cautionary Language Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements and information that are based on our management's current expectations. Such statements include, but are not limited to, plans, projections, Outlook and estimates regarding (i) demand for our towers and services and the level and composition of leasing activity, (ii) opportunities for the expansion and growth of our business, including through DAS, (iii) our investments of cash from cash flows and other sources, including the availability and type of investments and the impact and return on our investments, (iv) currency exchange rates, (v) site rental revenues, (vi) site rental cost of operations, (vii) site rental gross margin, (viii) Adjusted EBITDA, (ix) interest expense and amortization of deferred financing costs, (x) capital expenditures, including sustaining capital expenditures, (xi) recurring cash flow, including on a per share basis, (xii) net income (loss), including on a per share basis, and (xiii) the utility of certain financial measures in analyzing our results.  Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including but not limited to prevailing market conditions and the following:

  • Our business depends on the demand for wireless communications and towers, and we may be adversely affected by any slowdown in such demand.
  • A substantial portion of our revenues is derived from a small number of customers, and the loss, consolidation or financial instability of, or network sharing among, any of our limited number of customers may materially decrease revenues and reduce demand for our towers and network services.
  • Our substantial level of indebtedness could adversely affect our ability to react to changes in our business, and the terms of our debt instruments limit our ability to take a number of actions that our management might otherwise believe to be in our best interests. In addition, if we fail to comply with our covenants, our debt could be accelerated.
  • We have a substantial amount of indebtedness. In the event we do not repay or refinance such indebtedness, we could face substantial liquidity issues and might be required to issue equity securities or securities convertible into equity securities, or sell some of our assets to meet our debt payment obligations.
  • Sales or issuances of a substantial number of shares of our common stock may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
  • A wireless communications industry slowdown or reduction in carrier network investment may materially and adversely affect our business (including reducing demand for our towers and network services).
  • As a result of competition in our industry, including from some competitors with significantly more resources or less debt than we have, we may find it more difficult to achieve favorable rental rates on our new or renewing customer contracts.
  • New technologies may significantly reduce demand for our towers and negatively impact our revenues.
  • New wireless technologies may not deploy or be adopted by customers as rapidly or in the manner projected.
  • If we fail to retain rights to our towers, including the land under our towers, our business may be adversely affected.
  • Our network services business has historically experienced significant volatility in demand, which reduces the predictability of our results.
  • If we fail to comply with laws and regulations which regulate our business and which may change at any time, we may be fined or even lose our right to conduct some of our business.
  • If radio frequency emissions from wireless handsets or equipment on our towers are demonstrated to cause negative health effects, potential future claims could adversely affect our operations, costs and revenues.
  • Certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation, bylaws and operative agreements and domestic and international competition laws may make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us or for us to acquire control of a third party, even if such a change in control would be beneficial to our stockholders.
  • We may be adversely affected by our exposure to changes in foreign currency exchange rates relating to our operations in Australia.

Should one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected.  More information about potential risk factors which could affect our results is included in our filings with the SEC.

CONTACT: Jay Brown, CFO Fiona McKone, VP - Finance Crown Castle International Corp. 713-570-3050