Amt Tower Blue Wide

A former Verizon tower in Florida, soon to fall under American Tower's management. Image source: author.

Radio tower owner and operator American Tower (NYSE:AMT) reported second-quarter results before Wednesday's market open. The company beat Wall Street's earnings targets and raised full-year guidance figures, but shares still fell as much as 3% in early trading.

In the second quarter, American Tower's sales rose 14% to $1.17 billion, a rounding error below the analyst projection at $1.18 billion. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings -- using a heavily tweaked metric known as adjusted funds from operations, or AFFO -- rose 13% to land at $1.26 per share. Here, analysts were only looking for $1.20 per share.

Looking ahead, American Tower raised the midpoint of its full-year revenue guidance by $90 million, but the $4.67 billion target still sits 1.9% below the current analyst view. As the money flows through its operational guidance targets, AFFO per share is expected to land near $4.95 per share. That's just ahead of Wall Street's full-year target at $4.94 per share.

"In the U.S., we are rapidly integrating our Verizon portfolio, which already has more than 900 lease applications in its pipeline," said American Tower CEO Jim Taiclet in a press statement. When fully executed, that $5.1 billion deal will put 11,324 former Verizon towers under American Tower's management. The vast majority of these sites are leased, not owned.

Internationally, Taiclet said that major wireless network operators increased their tower-leasing activity drastically. Organic core sales rose 12% year over year in this segment, excluding the impact of recent acquisitions, currency exchange effects, and other one-time line items. For the record, the strong dollar reduced American Tower's total revenues by about 6.8% in the second quarter, and management currently counts on a 5.9% sales impact for the full year. The full-year currency damage to AFFO profits is seen near 7.7%, down from 9.2% in the second quarter.

American Tower shares are having a rough year in 2015. Share prices are down 4.2% year to date, while the S&P 500 benchmark has increased by 1.8%. Including the reported second-quarter results, shares trade at 19.9 times trailing AFFO earnings and 16.7 times forward estimates.

Anders Bylund owns shares of American Tower. The Motley Fool recommends American Tower and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool owns shares of American Tower and has the following options: long January 2017 $80 calls on American Tower. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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