Uniti Group Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2021 Results
August 05, 2021 at 16:05 PM EDT
Completes Strategic Transaction with Everstream
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Aug. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Uniti Group Inc. (“Uniti” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: UNIT) today announced its results for the second quarter 2021.
“Uniti delivered another strong quarter of results including consolidated bookings during the quarter of approximately $1.0 million in monthly recurring revenue, representing an increase of over 80% from consolidated bookings in the first quarter of 2021, and industry leading monthly churn of 0.2%. Demand for our fiber infrastructure remains very strong and is fueled by the continued virtualization of our society,” commented Kenny Gunderman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Gunderman continued, “Given the tailwinds we are seeing for more investment needed by our customers to enable 5G networks, fiber to the home, and greater cloud-based connectivity, we expect these strong demand trends will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Consolidated revenues for the second quarter of 2021 were $268.2 million. Net income and Adjusted EBITDA were $49.6 million and $215.7 million, respectively, for the same period. Net income attributable to common shares was $48.6 million for the period and included a $28.1 million gain on the sale of Uniti Fiber’s Northeast operations and certain dark fiber contracts relating to the Everstream transaction, and $0.4 million of transaction related and other costs. Adjusted Funds From Operations (“AFFO”) attributable to common shareholders was $103.2 million, or $0.41 per diluted common share, an increase of 10% when compared to the second quarter of 2020.
Uniti Fiber contributed $72.1 million of revenues and $29.4 million of Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2021, achieving Adjusted EBITDA margins of approximately 40.8%, up from 36.1% Adjusted EBITDA margins in the second quarter of 2020. Uniti Fiber’s net success-based capital expenditures during the quarter were $37.4 million.
Uniti Leasing contributed revenues of $196.1 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $192.1 million for the second quarter, representing growth of 6% and 5%, respectively, when compared to the second quarter of 2020. During the quarter, Uniti Leasing deployed capital expenditures of $50.0 million primarily related to the construction of over 1,500 new route miles of valuable fiber infrastructure.
On June 1, 2021, Uniti announced it had completed its previously mentioned strategic transaction with Everstream Solutions LLC (“Everstream”). As part of the transaction that was initially announced on November 9, 2020, Uniti entered into two 20 year IRU agreements with Everstream on Uniti-owned fiber. In addition, Uniti sold to Everstream a portion of Uniti Fiber’s Northeast operations and certain dark fiber IRU customer contracts acquired as part of the Windstream settlement.
Total cash consideration to Uniti, including upfront IRU payments, was approximately $135 million. In addition to the upfront proceeds, Uniti will receive fees of approximately $3 million annually from Everstream over the initial 20 year term of the IRU lease agreements, subject to an annual escalator of 2%.
At quarter-end, the Company had approximately $574 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, and undrawn borrowing availability under its revolving credit agreement. The Company’s leverage ratio at quarter-end was 5.65x based on Net Debt to Annualized Adjusted EBITDA.
On August 3, 2021, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per common share, payable on October 1, 2021, to stockholders of record on September 17, 2021.
UPDATED FULL YEAR 2021 OUTLOOK
The Company is updating its 2021 outlook primarily for the impact of the gain on sale of operations and income tax expense related to the Everstream transaction, the impact of transaction-related and other costs incurred to date, and revised estimates of interest expense. Our outlook excludes future acquisitions, capital market transactions, and future transaction-related and other costs not mentioned herein.
The Company’s consolidated outlook for 2021 is as follows (in millions):
Uniti will hold a conference call today to discuss this earnings release at 4:15 PM Eastern Time (3:15 PM Central Time). The dial-in number for the conference call is (844) 513-7153 (or (508) 637-5603 for international callers) and the conference ID is 6138328. The conference call will be webcast live and can be accessed on the Company’s website at www.uniti.com. A replay of the call will be available on the Company’s website or by telephone beginning today at approximately 8:00 PM Eastern Time. To access the telephone replay, which will be available for 14 days, please dial (855) 859-2056 and enter the conference ID number 6138328.
Uniti, an internally managed real estate investment trust, is engaged in the acquisition and construction of mission critical communications infrastructure, and is a leading provider of fiber and other wireless solutions for the communications industry. As of June 30, 2021, Uniti owns approximately 123,000 fiber route miles, 7.1 million fiber strand miles, and other communications real estate throughout the United States. Additional information about Uniti can be found on its website at www.uniti.com.
Certain statements in this press release and today’s conference call may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended from time to time. Those forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical statements of fact, including, without limitation, our 2021 financial outlook, expectations regarding strong demand trends, our business strategies, growth prospects, industry trends, sales opportunities, and operating and financial performance.
Words such as "anticipate(s)," "expect(s)," "intend(s)," “estimate(s),” “foresee(s),” "plan(s)," "believe(s)," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "seek(s)" and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could lead to actual results differing materially from those projected, forecasted or expected. Although we believe that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained. Factors which could materially alter our expectations include, but are not limited to, the future prospects of Windstream, our largest customer; the ability and willingness of our customers to meet and/or perform their obligations under any contractual arrangements entered into with us, including master lease arrangements; the ability of our customers to comply with laws, rules and regulations in the operation of the assets we lease to them; the ability and willingness of our customers to renew their leases with us upon their expiration, and the ability to reposition our properties on the same or better terms in the event of nonrenewal or in the event we replace an existing tenant; the adverse impact of litigation affecting us or our customers; our ability to renew, extend or obtain contracts with significant customers (including customers of the businesses we acquire); the availability of and our ability to identify suitable acquisition opportunities and our ability to acquire and lease the respective properties on favorable terms; the risk that we fail to fully realize the potential benefits of acquisitions or have difficulty integrating acquired companies; our ability to generate sufficient cash flows to service our outstanding indebtedness and fund our capital funding commitments; our ability to access debt and equity capital markets; the impact on our business or the business of our customers as a result of credit rating downgrades and fluctuating interest rates; our ability to retain our key management personnel; our ability to qualify or maintain our status as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”); changes in the U.S. tax law and other state, federal or local laws, whether or not specific to REITs; covenants in our debt agreements that may limit our operational flexibility; our expectations regarding the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results of operations and financial condition; other risks inherent in the communications industry and in the ownership of communications distribution systems, including potential liability relating to environmental matters and illiquidity of real estate investments; and additional factors described in our reports filed with the SEC.
Uniti expressly disclaims any obligation to release publicly any updates or revisions to any of the forward-looking statements set forth in this press release and today’s conference call to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.
This release and today’s conference call contain certain supplemental measures of performance that are not required by, or presented in accordance with, accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”). Such measures should not be considered as alternatives to GAAP. Further information with respect to and reconciliations of such measures to the nearest GAAP measure can be found herein.
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Components of Interest Expense (1)
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
We refer to EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Funds From Operations (“FFO”) as defined by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”) and Adjusted Funds From Operations (“AFFO”) in our analysis of our results of operations, which are not required by, or presented in accordance with, accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”). While we believe that net income, as defined by GAAP, is the most appropriate earnings measure, we also believe that EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, FFO and AFFO are important non-GAAP supplemental measures of operating performance for a REIT.
We define “EBITDA” as net income, as defined by GAAP, before interest expense, provision for income taxes and depreciation and amortization. We define “Adjusted EBITDA” as EBITDA before stock-based compensation expense and the impact, which may be recurring in nature, of transaction and integration related costs, costs associated with Windstream’s bankruptcy, costs associated with litigation claims made against us, and costs associated with the implementation of our new enterprise resource planning system, collectively “Transaction Related and Other Costs”, costs related to the settlement with Windstream, goodwill impairment charges, amortization of non-cash rights-of-use, the write off of unamortized deferred financing costs, costs incurred as a result of the early repayment of debt, including early tender premiums and costs associated with the termination of related hedging activities, gains or losses on dispositions, changes in the fair value of contingent consideration and financial instruments, and other similar or infrequent items. Adjusted EBITDA includes adjustments to reflect the Company’s share of Adjusted EBITDA from unconsolidated entities. We believe EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are important supplemental measures to net income because they provide additional information to evaluate our operating performance on an unleveraged basis. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA is calculated similar to defined terms in our material debt agreements used to determine compliance with specific financial covenants. Since EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not measures calculated in accordance with GAAP, they should not be considered as alternatives to net income determined in accordance with GAAP.
Because the historical cost accounting convention used for real estate assets requires the recognition of depreciation expense except on land, such accounting presentation implies that the value of real estate assets diminishes predictably over time. However, since real estate values have historically risen or fallen with market and other conditions, presentations of operating results for a REIT that use historical cost accounting for depreciation could be less informative. Thus, NAREIT created FFO as a supplemental measure of operating performance for REITs that excludes historical cost depreciation and amortization, among other items, from net income, as defined by GAAP. FFO is defined by NAREIT as net income attributable to common shareholders computed in accordance with GAAP, excluding gains or losses from real estate dispositions, plus real estate depreciation and amortization and impairment charges, and includes adjustments to reflect the Company’s share of FFO from unconsolidated entities. We compute FFO in accordance with NAREIT’s definition.
The Company defines AFFO, as FFO excluding (i) Transaction Related and Other Costs; (ii) costs related to the litigation settlement with Windstream, and accretion on our settlement obligation as these items are not reflective of ongoing operating performance; (iii) goodwill impairment charges; (iv) certain non-cash revenues and expenses such as stock-based compensation expense, amortization of debt and equity discounts, amortization of deferred financing costs, depreciation and amortization of non-real estate assets, amortization of non-cash rights-of-use, straight line revenues, non-cash income taxes, and the amortization of other non-cash revenues to the extent that cash has not been received, such as revenue associated with the amortization of tenant capital improvements; and (v) the impact, which may be recurring in nature, of the write-off of unamortized deferred financing fees, additional costs incurred as a result of early repayment of debt, including early tender premiums and costs associated with the termination of related hedging activities, taxes associated with tax basis cancellation of debt, gains or losses on dispositions, changes in the fair value of contingent consideration and financial instruments and similar or infrequent items less maintenance capital expenditures. AFFO includes adjustments to reflect the Company’s share of AFFO from unconsolidated entities. We believe that the use of FFO and AFFO, and their respective per share amounts, combined with the required GAAP presentations, improves the understanding of operating results of REITs among investors and analysts, and makes comparisons of operating results among such companies more meaningful. We consider FFO and AFFO to be useful measures for reviewing comparative operating performance. In particular, we believe AFFO, by excluding certain revenue and expense items, can help investors compare our operating performance between periods and to other REITs on a consistent basis without having to account for differences caused by unanticipated items and events, such as transaction and integration related costs. The Company uses FFO and AFFO, and their respective per share amounts, only as performance measures, and FFO and AFFO do not purport to be indicative of cash available to fund our future cash requirements. While FFO and AFFO are relevant and widely used measures of operating performance of REITs, they do not represent cash flows from operations or net income as defined by GAAP and should not be considered an alternative to those measures in evaluating our liquidity or operating performance.
Further, our computations of EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, FFO and AFFO may not be comparable to that reported by other REITs or companies that do not define FFO in accordance with the current NAREIT definition or that interpret the current NAREIT definition or define EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and AFFO differently than we do.
INVESTOR AND MEDIA CONTACTS:
Bill DiTullio, 501-850-0872