American Tower Corporation (“American Tower”) (NYSE: AMT)
Market Cap: $35.6 billion (as of 6/30/14)
American Tower (AMT), organized as real estate investment trust (REIT), is the largest independent U.S.-based owner of cellphone towers. The company’s rental and management operations include leasing antenna space on multi-tenant communications sites to wireless service providers, radio and television broadcast companies, and wireless data providers. Revenue and earnings are fueled by more towers, more equipment and tenants per tower, long-term hell-or-high water leases with annual pricing escalators and very high incremental margins.
Akre Focus Fund Investment:
The Fund made its first small investment in American Tower upon its inception in 2009, having had prior investments in the company for many years. Early this year we were able to take advantage of some price dislocation and add to the position. As of June 2014, AMT represents 8.9% of the portfolio.
We believe that cell towers are the “bottleneck” business within wireless data and communications, spanning countries, wireless carriers, handset manufacturers, and connected devices. The physics of radio frequency, signal propagation, and spectrum reuse and handoff promise an ongoing reliance on macro towers for network deployment, and the increasing demands being placed on these networks from 4G and skyrocketing wireless broadband data consumption herald the need for more towers, more tenants/equipment per tower, and more high incremental margin revenue growth for American Tower, which already boasts an Adjusted Funds from Operations, (AFFO)* margin over 40%. Moreover, wireless markets have been following similar growth trajectories as the U.S., and American Tower closed 2013 with nearly two-thirds of its towers outside the U.S. in countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico, Germany and South Africa. We believe this global scope affords a compelling runway for reinvestment.
The Investment Examples included herein have been selected based on objective, non-performance based selection criteria, solely to provide general examples of the research and investment processes of the Fund. The Investment Examples should not be construed as an indicator of the future performance. The information presented above should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. There can be no assurance that any securities discussed herein will be a part of the Fund’s portfolio or, if sold, will not be repurchased.
* Adjusted Funds from Operations, (AFFO) is A measure of a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)'s financial performance. This metric takes into account a REIT's Funds From Operations (FFO) and adjusts for recurring spending the company does to maintain the quality of its underlying real estate assets.