American Tower shares rise on upbeat 2Q reviews

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Shares of American Tower Corp. rose Wednesday after analysts praised the company’s overseas efforts and some raised their estimates of future profit.

The shares rose $3.17, or 6.3 percent, to close at $53.67.

AMT leases antenna space to wireless service providers and radio and television companies. The Boston-based company reported Tuesday that net income increased 16 percent to $115.2 million on a 27 percent jump in revenue.

Collins Stewart analyst Greg Miller said the company “exceeded nearly all expectations” with its results.

“We believe the growth from the international division will very likely continue to keep American Tower’s core organic growth rates above all other tower companies as AMT ramps up the average tenants per tower in these fast growing emerging markets,” Miller said in a note to clients.

Citigroup slightly raised its earnings estimates for the company for 2011 through 2013. Analyst Michael Rollins kept a “Buy” rating on the stock, citing the company’s rising exposure to faster-growing international markets.

In a note Wednesday, Rollins also said the company was capable of buying back shares or making acquisitions, and is likely to convert to a real estate investment trust next year.

However, Rollins also cited some of the company’s risks, including high debt, a volatile share price, and dependence on spending by wireless operators.

Raymond James also raised estimates and its target price for the shares. Analyst Ric Prentiss said growth in wireless data and a Sprint Nextel Corp. program to revamp and simplify its network will help demand for towers for several years.