The Transcripts, Transcripts

American Tower Corporation (AMT) 51st Annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference (Transcript)

American Tower Corporation (NYSE:AMT) 51st Annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference May 22, 2023 2:30 PM ET

Company Participants

Rod Smith – CFO

Conference Call Participants

Phil Cusick – J.P. Morgan

Phil Cusick

Hi, thanks for joining us. My name is Phil Cusick. I follow the Communications Services and Media Space here at J.P. Morgan. Welcome to the 51st Annual J.P. Morgan Media and Communications and Tech Conference.

I want to welcome Rod Smith, CFO of American Tower and Treasurer. Rod, thanks for joining us today.

Rod Smith

Yes, you’re welcome. Thanks, Phil. Thanks for having me. And thanks, everyone, for coming.

Question-and-Answer Session

QPhil Cusick

I was just talking to an investor who I thought I had a good point. Maybe just talk about the — from a big picture, talk about the business overall. And all the markets you operate in around the world, not necessarily all of them, but how would you characterize the activity level in the business today versus the last sort of three to five years? And how do you think about that for the next three to five years?

Rod Smith

Yes, absolutely. So I think everyone knows we’re a global tower company. We have about 230,000 towers around the globe in regions in the U.S., in Europe, in Africa, Latin America and in Asia, in more than 25 different countries. So it’s a pretty large business. And what I can tell you from a high level in terms of the demand for our sites, it’s really strong in the U.S. and around the globe. And it’s all around the increases in mobile data consumption that we’re seeing in all the countries that we’re in.

And then you combine that with the carriers need to continue to focus on network coverage. And in some of the markets that we’re in, the coverage is a big component of what they’re currently spending on. And then also the network quality. And then you get to network capacity, so where the carriers see increasing demand for mobile data consumption they need to increase the capacity of their networks and they do that by adding more components on the towers, which they pay us to do that or they add additional tower assets into the portfolio.

They lease additional towers. So and we see those three things, quality, coverage and capacity, continuing to create demand for our assets around the globe. So in the U.S., I think everyone knows the U.S. carriers are deploying 5G equipment. We also have DISH building out a greenfield 5G network. So that’s really constructive for us. We did guide towards 5%, roughly 5% organic tenant billings growth on average from this year out to 2027. And that’s largely underpinned by the development in these networks, keep the carriers keeping up with that mobile data consumption. So we feel really good about that.

Europe is in a similar situation where there they’re rolling out 5G networks in the markets that we’re in, in France and Germany and Spain. And even in Germany, we do see a new entrant in there, similar to DISH where Drillisch 1&1 is building out a greenfield network. And our assets that we have in Germany are perfectly suited for that carrier to use and to share those assets with the incumbents in the region.

So, in Europe, we’re seeing 7% to 8% organic growth in that region for this year. So that’s very constructive for us. We feel really good about that. And not only for this year, we feel good about the portfolio we have in Germany, France and Spain for the next several years given the stage that those markets are in for 5G deployment.

When you jump down into Africa, we’re seeing strong growth down in the Africa market. We are able to monetize inflation in most of our markets outside of the U.S. So in Africa and Latin America, by and large, our annual escalator is tied to their local inflation. So that’s a good fact for us. So we’re protected from this high inflation that we’re seeing at the moment. You combine that with some good gross growth.

Again, in Africa and Latin America, we’re seeing the carriers continue to build out the networks just for coverage as well as quality in some markets like Mexico and Brazil and South Africa. They’re rolling out 5G components as well. So that all creates the demand for our tower assets, which is really good for us.

The other thing I would highlight when you think about Africa and Latin America, we do have elevated churn really for this year, where we have a few distinct kind of carrier consolidation churn events. We went through the Nextel churn down in Brazil. We have the Oi churn in Brazil with that carriers being — the wireless assets of that carry is being absorbed into the existing three carriers there. Up in Mexico, we have Telef√≥nica that is joining the AT&T network as an MVNO. So they’re coming off of some tower sites.

We’ve got a few other kind of isolated churn events. But with that being said, it’s creating elevated churn in those two regions for us, which we do view as temporary. And we do view them as a high watermark. The churn is in the upper single digits for us in both of those markets this year, and then we expect that to trend down over the next several years. As we see those markets move towards just three carriers in these primary markets that we have and they get beyond the consolidation churn and then the environment becomes much more constructive for us going forward.

So we feel good about those two regions. And in India, we’re seeing some gross growth. That’s the highest we’ve seen in a while, so up in that 5% to 6% range. The organic tenant billings growth, which includes that gross growth as well as the escalator and net of the churn, ends up being around 4% for this year. That’s our outlook.

And that’s the highest that we’ve seen in India in several years. So it’s a little bit higher than it was last year. Last year, it turned positive from negative where we saw even higher amounts of consolidation churn there.

So India is a very interesting market. We’re up at that 4% growth rate. Initially, we had much higher expectations for India being up in the upper single digits, if not double-digit growth rates. And we haven’t seen the market recover to that level yet. So we’re cautious in terms of where we view India going in the long term. But for this year, it’s an improvement over last year, so we’ll take that.

Phil Cusick

Okay. Well, let’s dig into the U.S. That — so talk about what underpins that 5% organic growth. We’ve got overlay of 5G versus 4G. You’ve got carrier expansion. You’ve got the new carriers. So maybe talk first about where mid-band 5G is on your sites? Are we to the pathway point yet?

Rod Smith

Yes, it’s a great question. So we’re seeing activity from all four carriers, that includes DISH. So that is — that’s very constructive. We are seeing all carriers rolling out 5G components and high-band spectrum. So we’re seeing C-band spectrum being deployed in the U.S. We’re seeing the high-band spectrum that some of the other carriers owing outside of the C block. And we expect, just as we saw with the evolution of 2G to 3G and 3G to 4G, that the capital cycle for 5G is going to be a long cycle. It’s not measured in one or two years.

But we’re seeing on — roughly speaking, about 50% of our towers now have C-band spectrum deployed on it and another 50% to go. That’s, by and large, where we see kind of that initial 5G deployment. Now that’s not carrier specific. That’s kind of our assets on average across the board.

But that doesn’t mean that half of the carrier investment in 5G is done. That’s the beginning stages of just getting the network 5G capable. And then it will be a cycle of additional amendments to keep up with the capacity demands of the network.

So as more and more 5G capable handsets get out into the population and more 5G capable applications get out, applications that consume more bandwidth, that will put a strain on the networks and that increased mobile data consumption that’s going through the 5G components.

As that gets larger, the carriers will invest more, put more components out, more antennas, more base radios. It’s the same cycle that we saw with every other technology upgrade. And that cycle goes on for many years, five to 10 years. The 4G cycle was more than 10 years. And this cycle certainly will be in that five to 10 year cycle, we think.

So they’ll get 5G kind of up and running and deployed and then you’ll — as you see mobile data consumption go up on those networks, that’s the thing to watch. And then at some point, we think in the U.S. market, we could see a shift from mostly amendment-driven revenue with some of the carriers to a densification where they’re leasing additional sites.

And that’s basically to increase the capacity of the network after certain cell sites already kind of max out. So you take a cell site where you’ve got the maximum amount of spectrum you can deploy through that one cell site. You’ve got the maxim amount of equipment you can install in that one RAD center on that tower site.

And the solution of that is you then break it down, and you put — you get another tower kind of close by where you put up a new array, offload the spectrum and you begin to load up more equipment. And then you’ve doubled your capacity by having two cell sites in a coverage area as opposed to one. We do think that will end up coming through here, not right away, but over the next several years, we think we could see a transition to that. And that could be a nice upside revenue cycle for us as well when you see the market transition to densification.

And then with DISH, we’re seeing DISH active. They’re building out a network, and we’re certainly supporting them and helping them get up on as many of our towers as they would like to. I’d also say, I think people probably have heard us talk about this before. We have what we refer to as holistic agreements in the U.S., which, by and large, grants the carriers certain use rights over a number of years.

And in exchange, they agree to certain fees and fee escalations in addition to the regular escalator in exchange for those rights. So our revenue is more stable, and it’s decoupled at least for a short period of time for several years from their actual activity.

So you may see pullbacks or modest speed up of the carrier activity, but our revenue and revenue expectation stays nice and flat. It gives us more visibility, more predictability. It gives the carrier more visibility into what their expenses are.

And probably the most important element of these types of contracts is it reduces the administrative burden to get cell sites on air, and it shortens that time frame significantly. And that works really well when the carriers are trying to deploy network equipment and get their network up and 5G ready.

Phil Cusick

Do you think there will be a longer low? Or will there be a low between the spectrum rollout overlay period to the densification because we’re deploying so much spectrum that mid-band 200 megahertz that Verizon is deploying, does that mean that they can wait longer, do you think?

Rod Smith

Yes, it could be. I mean, it will be a combination of the amount of spectrum that’s out and available in the amount of capacity or mobile data consumption that’s actually happening. So it depends on how quickly handsets get out into that population. It will depend on what kind of applications and use cases that the consumers are going to be using on that network. And it reminds me of maybe 13 to 15 years ago when 4G was kind of turning the corner. Once the iPhone came out and application started getting on those — the iPhones, the amount of bandwidth that those phones used, I think, surprised everyone in the industry.

And you just don’t know what the mobile data consumption is going to exactly look like in a 5G scenario. It will be depending on what kind of applications very creative people will come up with and what kind of bandwidth requirements that ends up having.

But — yes, I think certainly, the spectrum is a higher — is a wider band spectrum. It’s going to have more capacity right out of the gate. So you could see a longer period of time between getting those 5G networks deployed and when they have to really start adding to it for capacity reasons.

But in addition to mobile use cases, we are seeing fixed wireless applications kind of taking root with the wireless carriers in the U.S., and that certainly puts more demand on the 5G network. So that would be another, I guess, you could call it an unknown that could accelerate or shorten the time frame between launching the 5G network, getting the C-band, the wider band spectrum, deployed and when they have to start densifying the network depending on how much fixed wireless broadband they put on the network.

Phil Cusick

Yes. But that 5% organic growth that you mentioned, that is underpinned by what kind of assumptions on densification and overlay?

Rod Smith

Yes, it’s a great question. So the 5% organic tenant billings growth that we are guiding to from now to 2027 in the U.S. is based on the agreements that we have with the carriers today and their deployments over the 5G networks.

And then some kind of normal use cases in terms of those networks. We don’t have a lot of densification built in there. Much of our holistic agreements that we have with our customers are centered around amendments and upgrading the existing cell sites with additional equipment. There may be some colocation in there, but pretty modest amounts in the grand scheme of things. So I would say, any significant level of densification could be upside to our holistic agreements into that 5% growth rate between now and 2027.

For this year, we’re guiding 5% organic tenant billings growth in the U.S. We have about 90% visibility into that number because it’s all contracted, not just the underlying rent but the growth. When you look out for the full period between now and ’27, 2/3 of that underlying growth and the underlying revenue, is fully contracted, and we have very clear visibility to it.

So we have a lot of visibility into that number. And I think everyone knows we have these holistic agreements really with all of the carriers at the moment. So the three primary carriers and then plus dish.

And then with DISH, we have kind of the minimum contracted revenues for them in our outlook. So just there’s not an expectation that they go beyond kind of the — their current network deployment plan in the way they’ve contracted with us. So it’s that minimum. So if you see DISH kind of accelerate their build out beyond their current expectations. At any point between now and 2027, that could be potentially additional upside to that 5% as well.

Phil Cusick

Now they’re already running above their minimums. Is that the right way to think about it?

Rod Smith

No, I wouldn’t know. That’s probably not the right way. I mean, they’re running at their minimum. So the way the agreement works is you basically have a number of years and they have certain use rights, which means access to a certain number of sites.

Those sites increase at certain milestones over the term of the contract. And as the use right fees expand on more sites, then their fees go up. So they’re kind of right on track with that schedule. They have access to the sites that they’ve contracted and they’re paying the fees that are contracted. And then again, going forward, there will be additional milestones where they get access to additional sites and their fee goes up. So that will continue to happen over the next couple of years.

Phil Cusick

Okay. And in terms of new sites in the U.S., it’s been a long time since you’ve built a lot of sites. There was a deal that Verizon did with a build-to-suit vendor recently. Is that something you would be interested in? Or are you kind of out of that business?

Rod Smith

Yes. No, I would say, I mean we’ve built towers all around the globe. We build thousands of towers every year across our regional footprint, that includes Europe, Africa, Latin America and India.

In the last several years, we’ve built very few sites in the U.S., but we love the U.S. market. We’d like to own more sites in the U.S. But it’s all around terms and conditions and getting access to those build-to-suit. So I certainly would not say that we don’t want to do build-to-suits in the U.S. We haven’t seen a compelling use case. We haven’t seen a compelling set of terms and conditions. But if we did, we’d love to do it.

Phil Cusick

Okay. While we’re on the U.S., you bought CoreSite a few years ago, data center business in the U.S. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how strong it’s been. Talk about — is that because of different management techniques, different investment from American Tower? Or is that just the underlying business? Is that much stronger than when you close the deal?

Rod Smith

Yes, it’s a great question. It’s really two things. I would point to — the construct of the portfolio is differentiated from your typical data center portfolio. And the key to the CoreSite portfolio is that it is built around cloud access points. So we’ve got roughly 26 or 27 facilities really across eight or nine markets at this point.

And across those facilities, we have 23 cloud on-ramps. So multiple cloud on-ramps in all of that geography — geographical locations that we operate in. And that’s a key point. Not all data center companies have cloud on-ramps and not all data center companies with cloud on-ramps have multiple cloud on ramps within each campus that they have.

So that was built that way purposefully. That was one of the things that we really liked about the CoreSite assets. What that does, that becomes the anchor to bring in all the networking companies. So our facilities are all network dense and cloud access kind of rich. And when you have all the network companies and when you have cloud on-ramps, multiple cloud on-ramps in these campuses, you attract the highest quality enterprise customers, and they come in.

So that’s kind of the ecosystem that we have within CoreSite, and it’s really a great set of assets. And it’s also from a geographical distribution, it’s perfect for us in our expectation of the assets. So it’s in Silicon Valley, down in L.A. We’ve got assets in Chicago and down in Denver and Boston and New York, Northern Virginia, and now down in Miami.

So really nice distribution from West Coast to East Coast and in the center of the country, South and in North and lots of our towers can get access into these cloud on-ramps, which really are key. When we underwrote the deal, we saw the uniqueness of the assets, we underwrote it like a 6% to 8% economic growth.

We’ve been kind of solidly in that range and even above that range in the first five or six quarters that we owned it. We actually had growth in Q1 of 10% kind of year-over-year. So really good growth.

And I’ll highlight too that in 2022, we saw — CoreSite saw its highest year ever of new business activity, new business being signed up. That new business will be deployed over the next couple of years. So that kind of underpins strong economic growth for the next couple of years for the CoreSite assets. That’s really kind of a key fact for us.

So we think this business is a really good set of U.S. assets that has very limited downside because of the high-quality nature of the assets themselves. We think it’s got really good potential growth rates because of the demand that we see. And then we also think that there is a there’s an optionality there that with those cloud on-ramps and our tower assets, that there could be some synergies.

They had some revenue synergies that could happen when you bring those two things together. And the simple way to explain it is we know that the cloud companies want more and more cloud access points in the U.S. They want hundreds of additional cloud access points distributed throughout the U.S.

Some of their biggest customers are going to be the network companies, particularly the wireless companies as well as landline network companies as well as enterprise customers. So we do think that there’s an opportunity to kind of bring the cloud access points out to the tower site right where base radios are for the wireless carriers as well as our towers at distributed where network companies are, where big enterprise customers are, where we can have cloud access points out at the tower site.

Pair that with some compute power, maybe content caching, to reduce latency within the networks, not just the wireless networks, but private networks as well as landline networks. And it reduces transport costs for a lot of the different users of these cloud access points where they’re not going deep into the network to pull the same content to do the same calculations over and over again.

They can move that out closer to the edge. That is not — that business model is not there yet, but we think over the next several years, that business model is developing and will develop. And we think there’s a really good chance that it could be an additional revenue stream for our tower sites.

Phil Cusick

What’s the evidence of that so far from customers? Are large cloud companies doing trials with you? Anything like that?

Rod Smith

We don’t have trials at the moment with cloud companies, but we do have cloud companies as customers and a lot of our data centers, and we’re working through those discussions. And they tell us they want to have significant number of additional access points beyond kind of the traditional data center structure. We also see wireless carriers partnering with cloud companies because we see networking companies really wanting everything to go to the cloud in these virtual networks.

We’re also seeing more and more network traffic and enterprise uses go right to the cloud. So instead of going in and having enterprises move their equipment out to a data center where you’re basically babysitting servers and keeping them cool, all that stuff is going into the cloud. And then compute power could be out there. That’s what makes our assets such a high quality because of all these cloud access points. So we do see the cloud companies stating their desire to have more and more cloud access points.

We see the network companies and the enterprise companies saying they want to get more and more of their business in the cloud. And therefore, they need closer proximity to get access to those clouds. And I think we all know, and you guys have heard it over and over, as networks develop and use cases for networks to develop, lower latency is going to be a requirement for a lot of the for a lot of the new functionality that is coming down the pike, everything from virtual reality type issues, to AI, to medical imaging and remote surgery and all kinds of things, automated cars and drones and planes, eventually farm equipment, all that is going to require a lower and lower latency.

The way you get lower latency is have cloud access points closer and compute power closer to where the end users are. And in our — and when you think about wireless carriers, when we say end users, what we mean is base stations, getting that compute power and that cloud access point as close to where the base stations are as possible. And today, those base stations by and large, are at the tower sites.

Phil Cusick

That’s interesting. I think at one point, Tom said there’s about 1,000 sites that could be capable of doing 1 to 2 megawatts of power. Is that still a good number? Has that evolved at all?

Rod Smith

Yes. I think it’s a good number. So — we’ve got more than 40,000 sites in the U.S. We’ve scrubbed them all, of course. And we think there are more than 1,000 that have enough land that have the right easements that have access to the right amount of power, which could be 1 or 500 kilowatts, 1 megawatt, full 2 megawatts, kind of in that range of a small data center type of power consumption that there are in areas where we can get that kind of power to it, we think that there’s more than 1,000 of those sites.

Phil Cusick

Okay. Let’s move on to the international business. As I — India gets a lot of attention. Can you give us any update on the sale process of that asset?

Rod Smith

Yes. So we’ve talked publicly about our interest to sell an equity stake of our India business. We’re in the process of working through the details of what that means.

We’ve called it an opportunistic process. And what that really means is, we’re going to look at the market. We’re going to see who has interest in partnering with us in buying a stake of that business and valuations and everything else kind of comes into play. Uses of capital come into play as well in terms of recycling capital and trying to put it to a better, more accretive, long-term use.

And we’ll look at all those functions and we can either sell a stake or we don’t have to sell a stake. So the opportunistic part means we don’t necessarily have to sell it, but we’re interested in looking at what’s available to us. And what I’ll say is we’re in the process there. I don’t want to talk too much about the detail, but we’re working with a number of a number of investors that are interested. We’re kind of working through some details there. And there likely will be more that we will say later in the summertime.

But we’re looking to sell an equity stake, and that could come in a variety of forms. It could be selling a minority stake, it could be selling a majority stake, and it could be selling a larger stake, maybe 100%, but we’ll work through the details there.

Phil Cusick

Okay. Elsewhere around the world, you’re building towers very quickly, I think, running at a pace above — I think it’s 4,400 is your guide for this year. Is there a sort of continued demand here? Do you have capital constraints on that? Are you just going as fast as you can?

Rod Smith

Yes. It’s a great question. There’s lots of demand for new towers, particularly in the — in our markets outside the U.S. And again, it’s all underpinned by carriers needing to invest in their networks for coverage in many cases, for quality in lots of cases.

And not so much even for capacity outside the U.S., although in Europe, there may be a little bit of that. It’s mostly quality and coverage. I would say that the demand for new assets probably is larger than certainly what we’re building. We are somewhat selective in terms of what we’re willing to build.

I think you can see that in the fact that we drive very high day one NOI yields on the assets that we are building in Europe and Africa and Latin America and in India. So I wouldn’t say that we’re capital constrained. We’re just disciplined in terms of which assets we build and which ones we won’t.

And getting into some of these agreements and taking on assets, we say no to some agreements in some places with certain carriers and there’s no question we could be building more if we wanted to, but it might come with lower day one NOI yields.

And when we look at our capital and the different uses of that capital we have available to us, we end up deploying a certain amount towards these build-to-suits in the places we want to build them, with the carriers we want to build them with the right economics. And if that’s compelling, we’ll do it. If it’s not, we move on and find other uses for the capital.

Phil Cusick

What is that typical day one NOI yield on new towers internationally?

Rod Smith

I mean, it’s typically in the — certainly in the double digits. And in a place like Europe, it’s — it can be up in the kind of the low teens. And when you’re looking at other more emerging markets, it can be up in the upper teens, almost 20%, up in that range. And it moves around a little bit, but clearly, in the — on average, kind of the mid-teens number, 14%, 15% kind of on average across the international markets.

Phil Cusick

Yes. You mentioned Europe and you mentioned Drillisch earlier. Talk about where that business is in the construction phase and how that’s starting to come on and impact your financials this year or next?

Rod Smith

Yes. Drillisch 1&1 is in very early stages of their 5G bill. They have some certain milestones that they’ve committed to with the German government and they’re moving towards that. We are really just getting started with them in terms of deploying sites.

Many of you that may have been tracking the situation, they started building a network. They’ve got other vendors that they’re working with. And we — our agreement with them was not the first agreement they signed. So again, we were disciplined and we kind of held out for terms and conditions that we felt good about. We — and we ended up making an agreement with Drillisch 1&1.

We’re in the early stages of helping them get access to some of the sites that we have in Germany. So at the moment, they’re not a material component of our revenue in Germany. But through the balance of this year, we’ll — we expect that to begin to ramp up. And it really will be a cycle that will go into next year and the year beyond is when the revenue really becomes material in terms of us building out their network components on the assets that we either own or operate.

Phil Cusick

You mentioned you weren’t the first contract they signed, and the implication, maybe I’m reading into it, is that the first wasn’t necessarily that disciplined. What do you see from other builders or owners of towers around the world? Are some starting to take some pain with higher rates and maybe looking to sell?

Rod Smith

It’s a good question. I mean I guess I would — I don’t want to get into other people’s businesses too much, but I’ll say there’s a wide variety of tower owner and operator models kind of around the globe.

Infrastructure funds have certain goals and objectives. They’re not necessarily the same as someone like American Tower. So their business may look different than ours. It doesn’t mean it’s not good for them. As a company that reports publicly every quarter, we want to deliver capital appreciation to our investors.

We want to deliver AFFO growth on a consistent basis for our investors and, of course, return on invested capital is important to us. That may not be the case for other types of investors that aren’t publicly reporting every quarter that are really more return on invested capital owners or yield owners of these assets for their LPs.

So their models may be perfectly fine. Our model is different. And we look for different terms and conditions because of that. So we’ve seen in the last few years, what I will say is we’ve seen lots of towers get bought and sold under terms and conditions that weren’t right for us. It doesn’t mean they weren’t right for other people, but they weren’t right for us.

So we weren’t the buyer of those assets. And we’ll continue to be disciplined as we go forward. We don’t have to buy anything anywhere. We don’t feel compelled to just go out and deploy capital in a certain region or a certain country. It’s all about the economics. It’s all about the growth. It’s all about the stability and the growth up against the risk, and it’s all about the overall return on invested capital within the markets.

And when we deploy capital, we look to leverage existing capital so that we get a bigger market position kind of enhance the overall portfolio in a place by increasing the investment there. But again, if the terms and conditions are right, you’ll see us pass on deals.

Phil Cusick

Similarly, we’ve seen carrier tower sales sort of chill over the last couple of years as rates have started to pick up. Are you seeing carriers start to come out and look for that — what effectively is a capital raise again? Or is that still pretty quiet?

Rod Smith

I think it’s still pretty quiet. I haven’t seen a lot of that. I mean, there’s been — you probably — some of the transactions that have been floating around for the last year or so. But I would say it’s still kind of in that — I haven’t seen a major shift from the thinking a year ago to where carriers are today. At least that from my perspective, I haven’t seen a big shift.

Phil Cusick

As you look at — eventually, that — if that wave comes back, are there regions around the world where you’re really interested in buying more towers?

Rod Smith

Again, I would highlight the fact that we don’t have, let’s say, certain outcomes prescribed that puts kind of an artificial motivation for us to just gain more towers. So we don’t — that’s not the way we operate.

It’s always terms and conditions and value creation is first and foremost. So we we’ve deployed a lot of capital over the years. So we deployed a lot of capital just in the last couple of years. Our portfolio is really strong and really well positioned. So we’re in a good position from that perspective. I would say when you look at the construct of our portfolio today and kind of where we are in the revenue and earnings kind of distribution around the globe, I would say we really like the U.S. marketplace.

We really like Europe and the quality of the carriers there and the quality of the economies and the population density and the ARPUs that we see there. So those would be two places we’d like to have more assets if and when terms and conditions kind of line up with the way we underwrite deals.

And when you look around in emerging markets, many of the larger countries that we’re in, we’ll look at performance. And if we can enhance that performance in a material way by adding assets through an acquisition would be open.

So I don’t think you’ll see us entering into a lot of different countries beyond what we’re in. It doesn’t mean you won’t see some additional countries here and there. But by and large, when you look at the regional spread of our company and our tower portfolio, and you see the countries that we’re in, we’re in the major markets that we think make sense for us, at least when you look at the landscape. And there are some developed countries outside of the U.S. and Europe, they don’t have a neutral host kind of colocation tower model yet.

If that changes, we could be interested in adding some exposure to developed markets outside of the U.S. and Europe if and when the time is right. And then when it comes to the emerging markets, it’s really the places we’re already in and kind of places where we see good returns, good construct, a number of high-quality, stable customers. If the backdrop looks really good, we could increase investments.

With all that said, at the moment, M&A is not on our radar screen, and probably won’t be through the balance of this year and probably into next year. We’re in a process of delevering. We’re in the process of reducing our exposure to floating rate debt. And as you saw, we sold the business in Mexico, our fiber business, we talked about the equity stake sale in India.

This is a good time where we’re not doing M&A to really look at our assets around the globe and make some decisions about recycling capital, if that’s appropriate. And what we look for is really long-term earnings quality. And to the extent that our assets kind of support that, then great.

If we find pockets here and there, where it doesn’t quite fit in, like the Mexico fiber business, we can recycle that capital if we have a higher, better use for that capital here in the short term. So that’s what we did with the Mexico fiber.

That’s sort of the thinking around India as well. So it’s a good time for us to create value, not through M&A, but really to focus on our current portfolio, trying to driving organic growth rates, driving high-quality, strong balance sheet outcomes, reducing our exposure to floating rate debt in an uncertain rate environment. We’re looking to try to drive cost reductions, margin expansions in improving the overall quality of our cash flows.

Phil Cusick

It’s a good place to leave it. Thanks, Rob.

Rod Smith


Phil Cusick

Thanks, everybody.

Rod Smith

All right. Thank you.