Crown Castle International Corporation (NYSE: CCI) and SBA Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:SBAC) are both large-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings and risk.

Dividends

Crown Castle International Corporation pays an annual dividend of $3.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. SBA Communications Corporation does not pay a dividend. Crown Castle International Corporation pays out 304.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Crown Castle International Corporation has increased its dividend for 2 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Crown Castle International Corporation and SBA Communications Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Crown Castle International Corporation 11.14% 6.21% 1.95%
SBA Communications Corporation 2.19% -2.64% 0.67%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

83.0% of Crown Castle International Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 92.4% of SBA Communications Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.4% of Crown Castle International Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.1% of SBA Communications Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Crown Castle International Corporation has a beta of 0.18, meaning that its stock price is 82% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SBA Communications Corporation has a beta of 0.71, meaning that its stock price is 29% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Crown Castle International Corporation and SBA Communications Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Crown Castle International Corporation 0 4 7 0 2.64
SBA Communications Corporation 0 4 11 0 2.73

Crown Castle International Corporation currently has a consensus target price of $104.83, suggesting a potential downside of 1.11%. SBA Communications Corporation has a consensus target price of $143.38, suggesting a potential downside of 4.73%. Given Crown Castle International Corporation’s higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Crown Castle International Corporation is more favorable than SBA Communications Corporation.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Crown Castle International Corporation and SBA Communications Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Crown Castle International Corporation $4.08 billion 10.56 $2.17 billion $1.25 84.81
SBA Communications Corporation $1.68 billion 10.78 $1.10 billion $0.31 485.50

Crown Castle International Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than SBA Communications Corporation. Crown Castle International Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than SBA Communications Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Crown Castle International Corporation beats SBA Communications Corporation on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Crown Castle International Corporation

Castle International Corp. (CCIC) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) company. The Company owns, operates and leases shared wireless infrastructure, including towers and other structures, such as rooftops (towers), and to a lesser extent, distributed antenna systems (DAS), a type of small cell network (small cells), and interests in land under third party towers in various forms (third party land interests). Its core business is renting space or physical capacity (collectively, space) on its towers, DAS and, to a lesser extent, third party land interests (collectively, site rental business) through long-term contracts in various forms, including license, sublease and lease agreements (collectively, contracts). The Company owned, leased or managed approximately 39,600 towers in the United States, including Puerto Rico, and approximately 1,700 towers in Australia.

About SBA Communications Corporation

SBA Communications Corporation is an independent owner and operator of wireless communications tower structures, rooftops and other structures that support antennas used for wireless communications. The Company’s operating segments include site leasing and site development. The site leasing business includes segments, domestic site leasing and international site leasing. The Company’s primary business line is its site leasing business. In its site leasing business, the Company leases antenna space to wireless service providers on towers that it owns or operates, and manages rooftop and tower sites for property owners under various contractual arrangements. The Company owns approximately 25,460 towers. It also manages or leases approximately 5,500 actual or potential towers. The Company’s other business line is its site development business, through which it assists wireless service providers in developing and maintaining their own wireless service networks.

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