Crown Castle 4Q in line; outlook comes up short

HOUSTON (AP) ? Wireless tower operator Crown Castle International Corp. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 23 percent as revenue grew. The company said recent announced acquisitions, such as the $1 billion deal for NextG Networks, will help its future growth.

Net income after payment of preferred dividends and purchases of preferred stock in the three months to Dec. 31 came to $43.9 million, or 16 cents per share. That was up from $35.7 million, or 12 cents per share, a year ago.

The earnings were in line with the 16 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $519.5 million from $496.3 million a year ago. That was better than the $517.5 million expected by analysts.

The company said it expects first-quarter earnings per share of 12 cents to 21 cents and annual earnings of 59 cents to 90 cents. The quarterly estimate was roughly in line with the 16 cents analysts expected for the first quarter, while the mid-point of the annual earnings estimate was below the 79 cents expected by analysts.

Shares rose 10 cents to $46.80 in after-hours trading after closing up 76 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $46.70 in the regular session Wednesday.