Boca cell-tower owner to take advantage of REIT tax status

SBA Communications' Steven Bernstein and Jeffrey Stoops.

SBA Communications’ Steven Bernstein and Jeffrey Stoops.

BOCA RATON — SBA Communications Corp. said Monday that it aims to turn itself into a real estate investment trust.

REIT status gives landlords a tax advantage — 90 percent of taxable income is paid to shareholders as dividends. Yield-hungry investors like REITs (rhymes with “streets”) for their hefty dividends.

“We expect our conversion to a REIT to have little to no effect on our operations, as we have been operating in compliance with REIT rules since prior to the beginning of 2016,” said Jeffrey Stoops, CEO of Boca Raton-based SBA Communications.

While the company long has weighed REIT status, this is the first year in many that it has been profitable. For the first half of 2016, SBA Communications reported a profit of $86 million, compared to a loss of $51 million for the first half of 2015.

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