Lamar Advertising Co Class A Earnings Call Insights: Private Letter Rating and Supply Side Managment

Lamar Advertising Co Class A (NASDAQ:LAMR) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Private Letter Rating

Marci Ryvicker – Wells Fargo: So looking at your stock today, I guess the market is telling is there is concern about the private letter ruling and I know Sean mentioned you mentioned at the beginning that hopefully they’ve will get sooner rather than later. Do you still feel good that digital will be included and has there been any conversation with the IRS that would lead you to believe there are some issues in that’s why it’s being held up?

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Sean Reilly – CEO: We really don’t have a substantive update in that regard Marci. We get some smoke signals from our lawyers and accountants on process and those smoke signals are telling us that the sooner is probably to be expected than the later in terms of timing, but it’s not the most transparent of processes on the substantive side, so we really don’t have anything to pass on other than what we said, and I know everybody is anxious, we’re all anxious. As soon as we get it, we’ll get with everybody.

Marci Ryvicker – Wells Fargo: In terms of just the process, we’ve seen, other non-traditional REIT conversions and some companies who have done, they’ve submitted the filing to the SEC, they’ve communicated the E&P distribution and the AFFO before they received their private letter ruling. Is it reasonable to assume that once you get this ruling that the other steps in this process are in place where we would get communication rather quickly, because I think there is a fear that you’re going to get the private letter ruling and then we’re going to have to wait a significant amount of time until the next steps happens, that might miss you to – or cause you to miss a January 1, 2014 conversion time?

Sean Reilly – CEO: I mean we haven’t heard anything that leads us to believe we’re behind on our con table. I think the discussion around the E&P distribution and sort of divining what our AFFO is going to look like for ’14, it’s probably a discussion that happens in the sort of July-August time horizon. We sent some indications to the market that E&P distribution is going to be nominal. We haven’t put a fine pencil on that yet, but I think our comment in that regard have been that it’s going to be either here or nominal on the E&P side. So, you know we – I don’t think we’ll be talking about counting AFFO June-July, but I think it’s reasonable to say in August-September time horizon.

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Marci Ryvicker – Wells Fargo: I just have one follow-up for Keith. Non-cash comp in the first quarter the FAS 123 was pretty high any comment on that what we expect going forward?

Sean Reilly – CEO: It should be relatively immaterial going forward, it was much higher because we issued options in the first quarter. So it will be actually, what would be the second quarter.

Marci Ryvicker – Wells Fargo: It would be (indiscernible) for the year?

Sean Reilly – CEO: $32 million for the year is what it will be.

Supply Side Managment

Benjamin Swinburne – Morgan Stanley: Could you weigh in on digital and how you are thinking about sort of the balance of inventory and price, I know you mentioned that March got a little soft and you expect to see a rebound, but you’ve also I think made the decision to accelerate your digital build out. So just curious if you could give us an update on how you are thinking about managing the supply side. And then on that point any update guys on the CapEx outlook for the year since digital board will be little higher than what you thought I know if that’s being redeployed from other parts of the budget.

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Sean Reilly – CEO: I don’t think it’s material. I think we kind of guided to 130 and it might come in around 150 for the year so I am not anticipating a big difference on our total CapEx budget which we laid out in the $90 million to $100 million. It’s a little I guess counterintuitive if we accelerated a little in the first quarter and in looking at the markets that receive digital really two buckets that have fallen into. As you know we rely on our local general managers to keep that finger on demand pulse and we have some markets where because of regulatory reasons there digital penetration is still in the single digits and they feel like they can use some more given local demand, so there’s a little bit of that going on. And then the other thing that happens is, when you have a regulatory win, it often has a timetable attached to it. You get a digital right, if you don’t use it you lose it. So we are in some cases deploying a little – maybe a little in advance of market demand just because you’ll never get that right again. So, that’s the dynamic that’s going on. In general, we still believe that we have some markets where we are little ahead of market demand and we’re trying to throttle back a little bit.

Benjamin Swinburne – Morgan Stanley: Then just quickly on the national strength. I didn’t know if telecom was a part of that. Last year that was a noisy vertical and a headwind a bit, but I thought you said – sounded like you felt better about that piece of the business. So I wonder if that could be the driver.

Sean Reilly – CEO: Yeah, it’s interesting. We’ve got some good business from AT&T. As a matter of fact in the first quarter of last year, AT&T dropped out of our top 10 customer list and they are now back in it, so that’s the good news. But customers kind of come in and go and I am looking at top 10 and U.S. Cellular was in first quarter of last year they are not in it this year. In talking with John Miller, telecom was sort of – just sort of steady in the first quarter. The real drivers of national in the first quarter were fast food, beverage, gaming and automotive. Those were the national drivers.

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