Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 21-27, 2002


Former WMI Chief Sues Over SEC Investigation

The former chief executive of Waste Management Inc. (NYSE:WMI) recently stated he has been told that federal regulators plan to file civil charges against him for his alleged role in accounting improprieties in the mid-1990s. Dean Buntrock maintains, in a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago, that the Securities and Exchange Commission is not entitled to take the action against him because two key SEC officials have conflicts of interest from their ties to the accounting industry and previous work for Waste Management. Buntrock is asking the court to prevent the SEC from suing him until measures are taken to ensure that the agency can act impartially. The SEC has been investigating Waste Management and its accounting for about four years. Buntrock says the SEC's allegations are based on a 1997 analysis of accounting problems conducted for Waste Management by the SEC officials as consulting professionals while they were in private practice. Their analysis led Waste Management to disclose that it had overstated its earnings by $1.43 billion from 1992 to 1996. The SEC last June sued accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP, alleging it issued false and misleading audit reports that inflated Waste Management's earnings by more than $1 billion for the years 1993 through 1996. Andersen, which also was the auditor of collapsed Enron Corp., agreed to pay a $7 million civil fine to settle the SEC's suit without admitting to or denying the allegations. In November, Waste Management agreed to pay $457 million to settle a class-action suit alleging its executives misled investors about its finances two years ago to drive up the stock price...Read More »



CET Receives $2.1 Million in Receivables Settlement

CET Environmental Services, Inc. (Amex: ENV) has received $2.1 million under the terms of a Settlement Agreement related to previously uncollected receivables for services performed at a project in Santa Clarita, California. During 2000, the company performed brownfields reclamation work for Remediation Financial, Inc. and affiliated partners Santa Clarita, LLC and LCRI Investments, LLC. In the third quarter of 2000, the company experienced problems collecting receivables, the severity of which caused the company to suspend work at the Porta Bella project. Subsequently, RFI presented the company with termination notices for both projects. The company received a settlement for the former project, and is continuing efforts to recover outstanding receivables from the latter...Read More »



Waste Connections Reports 4Q Revenue of $100.8 Million

Waste Connections, Inc. (Nasdaq:WCNX) has announced fourth quarter earnings of $.37 per share on 31.8 million shares. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2001 was $100.8 million, a 21.7 percent increase over revenue of $82.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2000. Operating income for the quarter increased 21.3 percent to $26.2 million, or 25.7 percent of revenues, from $21.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2000. The company's free cash flow was just under $44 million, or 11.5 percent of revenue, which company officials noted is the strongest in the industry on a percentage of revenue basis...Read More »



Clean Harbors Acquires Safety-Kleen's Chemical Services Division

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Nasdaq: CLHB) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Chemical Services Division of Safety-Kleen Corp. Under terms of the agreement, Clean Harbors will purchase the division from Safety-Kleen for $46.3 million in cash and will assume certain environmental liabilities valued at approximately $265 million. Clean Harbors expects to generate in excess of $100 million of EBITDA during the first full year after the merger. The combined company is expected to have annualized revenue of approximately $750 million, as well as approximately 4,400 employees and 38,000 customers including a vast majority of the Fortune 500. Safety-Kleen Corp. is currently under Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, which it entered voluntarily along with 73 of its U.S. subsidiaries, in June 2000. Clean Harbors expects the transaction to close during the third quarter of 2002...Read More »



American Ecology Reports 2001 Results

American Ecology Corporation (Nasdaq:ECOL) has announced that for the twelve months ending December 31, 2001, the company posted net income of $802,000, or $.03 per basic share, compared to net income of $4.7 million, or $.31 per basic share for the year ending December 31, 2000. Revenue for the year increased 33% to $56 million in 2001 from $42 million in 2000, principally driven by the company's successful acquisition of the Grand View, Idaho hazardous waste facility in February 2001. While fourth quarter 2001 financial results reflect significant improvement over the previous quarter, earnings were depressed by continued operating losses at the Company's Oak Ridge, Tennessee low-level radioactive waste processing facility...Read More »



MTBE Phaseout Could Severely Harm California Economy

Consultants have told the California Energy Commission that the cost to phase out MTBE may be prohibitively expensive. Consultants from Stillwater Associates told the CEC at a recent public meeting that keeping the current phase out date for MTBE of January 1, 2003, will cause a 5 to 10% gasoline supply shortfall, and pump price increases of 50 to 100%. The consultants recommended delaying the MTBE phase out to November 2005. The state could save $1 billion to $3 billion at the pump each year by modifying the date of an MTBE phaseout. State consultants have said that the MTBE phaseout could lead to an energy crisis that would make the state's recent electricity crisis look minor by comparison...Read More »



Waste Connections Acquires Seven Companies

Waste Connections, Inc. (Folsom, CA) announced that it has recently acquired seven solid waste management companies with combined annual revenues totaling $32 million. The newly acquired firms include the San Luis Garbage group of companies, a vertically integrated franchise operating along the central California coast. The other acquisitions include collection operations in Oregon and Washington and tuck-in acquisitions in Colorado, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas...Read More »



Waste Management Profitable for 2001

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) reported net income of $503 million on revenues of $11.32 billion during 2001, marking a turnaround from the previous year when the company suffered a net loss of $97 million on revenues of $12.49 billion. "As Waste Management exits the second year of what we have referred to as a three year turn-around, we are pleased with our many accomplishments,'' said A. Maurice Myers, the company's chairman, president and CEO. "In 2002 we are focused on cost and operational efficiencies in all parts of our business and on improving our sales effectiveness."...Read More »


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