In 2021 March the stock was at its highest point; a little more than one year later and the stock is down by -19% right now. About on the same level as it was back in 2020 April. Is the stock a buy? Let’s find out with a review and analysis!
American Tower Corporation, one of the largest global REITs, is a leading independent owner, operator, and developer of multitenant communications real estate with a portfolio of approximately 219,000 communications sites. Market Cap: $109b S&P Rating: BBB-
American Tower has been a standout performer over the years. Since converting to a real estate investment trust (REIT) in 2012, it has produced a nearly 16,1% annualized total return. That has outperformed the broader market, with the S&P 500 delivering a 14.8% annualized total return during that timeframe.
The Total Return on my investment would be 373% over the last 10 years! Excellent performance!
Currently, AMT is traded with a P/FFO of 26.01. This is the P/E ratio that we use for REITs. As a rule of thumb, this number has to be under 25. AMT’s number is at the border with 26.01. Analysts put a „Buy” sign on the stock which is understandable.
Quick Note: What is a REIT? REITs, or real estate investment trusts, are companies that own or finance income-producing real estate across a range of property sectors. These real estate companies have to meet several requirements to qualify as REITs. REITs must payout at least 90 % of their taxable income to shareholders(dividends)—and most payout 100 %. In return, shareholders pay the income taxes on those dividends.
The dividend situation is at its best!
AMT pays currently a decent 2.19% dividend yield and it has a dividend growth record of 12 years! This REIT isn’t the highest payer but it is increased with the biggest percentage after year after year. The 5-year average yield on the stock is 2.11% so as of now you can get it above the average yield. AMT is increasing the dividend yield like a monster. Take a look at the 5-year DGR and 10-year DGR, they are increasing their yield on average by 15-17% by every year!
If you want to take your stake from AMT then it is a perfect time! Buy some shares before 16. June which is the Ex-dividend date and take your first check!
The Payout Ratio is also an important measure. I consider AMT as a small dividend payer but a grower company so I want the payout ratio under 60%. AMT is doing a good job here, in the last three years it was always under 60%, but before was even lower in the 30% range. Share buybacks can be a silent killer.
If the company does not buy back shares but dilutes them then your investments are worthless over time. It is like a slice of cake where your slice will be smaller if the company dilutes its shareholders. Most REITs dilute their shareholders because of how a REIT works, and I can imagine what are your thoughts…
They are buying back shares you can think but I was surprised as you will right now. They are issuing shares. Only by a small percent but they are doing it. In this case with AMT, I don’t see this as a bad thing because they are a REIT and they want to expand and it is only just a small percentage.
Future and Forecasting
The future does look decent. Based on 20 analysts the estimated future growth rate is 7,8% yearly. Estimates aren’t the same as the real return in the last 10 years. Hopefully, AMT will beat the estimates. But analysts have a scorecard also which tells me that they are 100% right about the estimates of this particular company.
I use the most widely accepted method to calculate the fair value of a company which is the Discounted Cash Flow(DCF). It is based on the premise that the fair value of a company is the total value of its future free cash flows (in this case I use AFFO) discounted back to today’s prices. I use analysts’ estimates of cash flows and assume the company grows at a stable rate into perpetuity.
(Total Equity Value = Present value of next 10 years cash flows + Terminal Value = $50.385 + $135.103= $$185.487.7
Equity Value per Share (USD) = Total value / Shares Outstanding = $185.488 / 456= $406.52)
Risks and the overall takeaway
AMT was for me attractive back in the time, but right now it is more attractive for me and the recent slump in the stock price looks like an excellent opportunity to pick up shares of this fast-growing REIT at a lower valuation and higher dividend yield. Although there is only a very small percentage that they are going to have serious problems with the debt I’m worried a little bit and I would like to see the stock at a lower valuation. If this pick would be one of the main pillars of your portfolio then I would wait a little bit more. Otherwise, if it would be only a small percentage of your portfolio then it is a BUY right now!
Disclosure: I have no stock, option, or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, and no plans to initiate any such positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.