One of the biggest political news stories in the United States this year was the passing of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The huge spending plan will allocate $550 billion over the next five years to help fix some of America's aging infrastructure and provide a tailwind for new industries like renewable energy and 5G. With a steady stream of government spending coming down the line, plenty of stocks will benefit from an increase in infrastructure investment around the country.
Two under-the-radar stocks that should benefit from the new infrastructure bill are Autodesk (ADSK 3.36%) and American Tower (AMT -1.86%). Here's why.
Autodesk is a software company that serves the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Its popular products include Revit, AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Civil 3D, and the Autodesk Construction Cloud. Its core customers are architects, all different types of engineers, and construction firms.
Management has never talked specifically about how it believes the infrastructure bill will affect the demand for its products. But by looking at the bill, it is clear the dollar amounts being spent will help Autodesk's end customers, thereby also increasing the demand for Autodesk's products as well.
For example, the $110 billion being spent on roads, bridges, and major projects should help spur demand for Civil 3D, Revit, and AutoCAD. This is also true with the $17 billion being spent on port infrastructure and the $25 billion being spent on airports. The bill includes $55 billion to rebuild America's water infrastructure and $50 billion to make the power and water grids more resilient. This plays right into Autodesk's recent acquisition of Innovyze, which offers asset-management and risk-planning software to water utilities.
Autodesk is guiding for $2.4 billion in free cash flow next fiscal year, which ends in January 2023. At its current $60 billion market cap, this implies a price-to-free-cash-flow (P/FCF) of 25, a very reasonable multiple for a high-quality software business like Autodesk. If you believe the infrastructure bill can help raise the demand for Autodesk's products over the next decade, this annual free cash flow will be much higher five to ten years from now.
2. American Tower
American Tower serves a different industry that will get a boost from the new infrastructure bill: broadband and telecommunications. The real estate investment trust (REIT) owns and operates tens of thousands of cellular towers around the globe, which it leases to telecommunications firms like AT&T and Verizon.
The infrastructure bill is providing $65 billion to increase broadband access across the nation, which President Biden hopes will close the digital divide that many rural communities suffer from today. This should help increase the demand for American Tower's services: In order to get nationwide 5G coverage, we will need many more cell towers.
Another way the company will benefit from the infrastructure bill is through its recent $10 billion acquisition of CoreSite Realty (COR). CoreSite is similar to American Tower, but it leases data centers to cloud service providers instead of cellular towers to telecommunications companies. With an increased penetration in broadband across the nation, CoreSite will likely see a tailwind in growth as more and more individuals are able to access quality internet and cloud software services from their homes and offices.
Since it is a REIT, the two key metrics for American Tower are its dividend yield and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO). Currently, its dividend yield sits at 1.99%. This may seem small for a REIT, which has to pay out 90% or more of its income in dividends, but American Tower has a proven track record of growing its dividend per share, which has gone from under $1 in 2013 to over $5 today.
Management is guiding for $4.3 billion in AFFO this year. Compared to its enterprise value (EV) of $170 billion (which takes into account all of its debt), the stock trades at an EV/AFFO of 40. This is expensive for a large business like American Tower, but if you think 5G, broadband, and the cloud will grow over the next decade, it should be able to increase its dividend and AFFO at a high rate, too. This makes it a great under-the-radar infrastructure investment to consider for your portfolio.