Crown Castle (NYSE: CCI) yesterday reported full-year 2020 results that showed solid growth on a year-to-year basis in the face of the pandemic.
“We delivered another solid year of growth in 2020, highlighting the strength of our business model and the significant value creation opportunity we believe our strategy provides to shareholders,” stated Crown Castle CEO Jay Brown.
Site rental revenues grew to $5.3 billion, up 4 percent over 2019. Both Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Funds From Operations grew by double-digit percent increases.
The company is projecting similar growth rates for 2021, reflecting the long term lease agreements it has with the major carriers and demand for CCI’s diversified tower, small cell and fiber infrastructure assets that support its carrier tenants’ 5G deployments.
“Despite the challenges 2020 presented,” Brown said, “we generated industry leading tower revenue growth in the U.S., resulting in AFFO per share growth that was in line with our long-term target range. We expect our growth trend to continue with approximately 6 percent growth in Organic Contribution to Site Rental Revenue for our Towers segment in 2021, supporting the previously announced 11 percent increase in our dividend per share.”
“Adding to our long-term growth opportunity,” Brown said, “we finished the year with approximately 50,000 small cells on air, and we meaningfully increased our backlog of small cells committed or under construction to approximately 30,000 with the 5G small cell agreement with Verizon we announced today. We believe our unique portfolio of assets positions us to benefit from what we expect will be a decade-long investment cycle as our customers deploy 5G, extending the opportunity we see to create long-term value for our shareholders while delivering dividend per share growth of 7 percent to 8 percent per year.”
Dan Schlanger, CCI’s CFO said, “We are excited about how well positioned we are to support our growing number of customers by providing a comprehensive set of solutions across towers, small cells and fiber solutions, which are all necessary to build out next generation wireless networks.”
“We believe our ability to offer towers, small cells and fiber solutions, which are all integral components of communications networks and are shared among multiple tenants, provides us the best opportunity to generate significant growth while delivering high returns for our shareholders,” Brown said. “Based on the expected growth in data traffic and wireless carrier network investment, we believe the U.S. represents the best market in the world for communications infrastructure ownership, and we are pursuing that opportunity with our comprehensive offering. This differentiated strategy is delivering compelling results, as evidenced by our superior tower revenue growth rate in the U.S., and the strategic long-term agreements we recently announced with Verizon and DISH to support their nationwide 5G build outs.”
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