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Why Is Crown Castle (CCI) Down 3.8% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Crown Castle (CCI). Shares have lost about 3.8% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Crown Castle 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's Q4 FFO and Revenue Surpass Estimates

Crown Castle’s fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted FFO (AFFO) per share of $1.77 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.71. However, the figure was 26.6% lower than the year-ago quarter’s $2.33.

Net revenues of $1.65 billion improved 10.8% year over year in the fourth quarter. Further, the top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.63 billion.

Growth in site-rental revenues amid elevated tower space demand aided the top-line performance. Also, declining operating expense acts as tailwind.

For 2021, Crown Castle reported AFFO per share of $6.95, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.89. Moreover, the figure increased 2.5% from the prior year’s $6.78. Net revenues of $6.34 billion improved 8.6% from the prior year’s $5.84 billion. Moreover, the reported figure beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.31 billion.

Per management, “We generated significant growth in 2021, including 14% AFFO per share growth and an 11% increase in our common stock dividend per share, as our customers began upgrading their existing cell sites as part of the first phase of the 5G build out in the U.S.”

Quarter in Detail

During the fourth quarter, site-rental revenues came in at $1.5 billion, up 9% year over year. The organic contribution of $79 million to the site rental revenues reflects 5.8% year-over-year growth. Further, services and other revenues rose 27.7% year over year to $180 million.

Quarterly operating expenses declined 3.7% year over year to $1.13 billion.

The operating income descended 23.2% year over year to $522 million. The quarterly adjusted EBITDA of $984 million marked a 16.5% year-over-year decrease.

Crown Castle reported a capital expenditure of $337 million for the fourth quarter. This included $286 million of discretionary capital expenditure and $30 million of sustaining capital expenditure.

Balance Sheet

Crown Castle exited fourth-quarter 2021 with cash and cash equivalents of $292 million, up from $232 million reported at the end of Dec 31, 2020.

Also, debt and other long-term obligations aggregated $20.6 billion, up from the $19.1 billion witnessed at the end of 2020.

Guidance

Crown Castle raised the outlook for 2022. For the full year, AFFO per share is anticipated to be $7.31-$7.41. Management estimates site-rental revenues of $6,202-$6,247 million. The adjusted EBITDA is projected at $4,249-$4,294 million.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates revision flatlined during the past month.

VGM Scores

Currently, Crown Castle has a subpar Growth Score of D, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a B. However, the stock was 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.

Outlook

Crown Castle has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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