Lamar Advertising Co., the Baton Rouge-based outdoor advertising giant, churned to another double-digit increase in results for its shareholders during 2015, as adjusted funds from operations swelled to $442.1 million, or $4.59 per share.
In 2014, the Real Estate Investment Trust reported AFFO of $388.5 million, or $4.08 per share.
In a conference call with stock analysts and investors, Chief Executive Officer Sean Reilly described 2015 as “an excellent year,” with higher-than-expected revenue growth; 2015 revenue was $1.35 billion, compared with $1.29 billion in 2014.
“Most importantly, we grew AFFO per share by more than 12 percent,” Reilly said. “That marks the second consecutive year of double-digit AFFO per share growth here at Lamar.”
Real Estate Investment Trusts, like Lamar, don’t pay corporate income taxes on profits if the trusts distribute at least 90 percent of the profits to shareholders. AFFO is a measure that helps predict a REIT’s ability to pay dividends.
Lamar will boost its 2016 distribution by 10 percent, Reilly said.
In December, the company said it expects the 2016 dividends will total $3.02 per share, compared with $2.75 for 2015.
For the fourth quarter, Lamar reported AFFO increased to $122.5 million, or $1.27 per share, compared to $117.3 million, or $1.23 per share. Fourth-quarter revenue grew 5.7 percent to $356 million.
For 2016, Lamar expects AFFO per share in the range of $4.85 to $5, an increase of 6 percent to 9 percent.
Reilly said Lamar is already off to a good start for the year.
In January, Lamar paid $458.5 million for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.’s billboards and posters in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; Cleveland; Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tennessee; and Reno, Nevada.
Those properties are being integrated as expected and the early results are strong, Reilly said.
The company’s earnings projections indicate growth of 2 percent to 3 percent, Reilly said. At this point, Lamar appears headed for the high end of projected growth.
“All in all, we look forward to another excellent year in 2016,” Reilly said.
Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.