March 9, 2017 —
Communications Sales & Leasing (CS&L) announced that it has changed its corporate name to Uniti Group to align itself the brand names of its principal business units – Uniti Towers, Uniti Fiber and Uniti Leasing, during its fourth quarter 2016 earnings call. Uniti Group now trades under the symbol “UNIT” (NASDAQ: UNIT). The Company’s new website is www.uniti.com.
As of Jan. 31, 2017, Uniti owned 468 towers. Company CEO Kenny Gunderman said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the company’s towers, during the call. “The opportunity to build new macro towers and the United States that will be integral parts of the coming 5G investment cycle is not only an opportunity itself, but we believe will also feed additional fiber opportunities as front-haul and CRAN architectures become more prevalent through small cells and traditional backhaul,” Gunderman said.
Uniti Towers’ acquisition of the Network Management Services (NMS) tower portfolio (in Mexico, Nicaragua and Columbia) closed at the end of January for $62.6 million. At closing, the NMS portfolio included 366 operating towers and 105 towers under development, all of which we expect to be completed in 2017.
Uniti Towers projects revenue between $7 million to $8 million for full year 2017, principally from the NMS towers, with tower cash flow margins of 59 percent. Adjusted EBITDA in 2017 is expected to be near breakeven, as the company prepares for growth in the future.
“We expect Uniti Towers to win additional opportunities for build-to-suit towers in Mexico and in the United States this year,” Gunderman said. “Our Uniti Towers 2017 capital spend guidance is $25 million to $30 million, including $10 million related to the NMS development towers.”
Additionally, Uniti Towers expects $20 million of ground lease investments during 2017 at an average initial yield of 6 percent.