Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 10-16, 2009


Waste Connections Buys Assets from Republic for $313 mil.

Waste Connections Inc. is spending $313.2 million to buy landfills, transfer stations and commercial collection routes from Republic Services and said it is considering additional purchases. The announcement comes as little surprise following months of financial preparations by the company and news that Republic would be required to divest assets under an agreement with the Department of Justice following Republic's merger with Allied Waste Industries, Inc. that closed in December. Coupled with a deal that closed in November, Waste Connections is spending $616 million on expansion as it attempts to broaden its footprint during the recession. The current acquisition includes six landfills, six collection companies and three transfer stations in seven markets: Southern California; Denver; Houston; Lubbock, TX, Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; Charlotte, NC; and Flint, MI. that have an estimated combined annual revenue of $110 million. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. "This agreement represents the culmination of several months of effort to position Waste Connections for this attractive opportunity," said Ronald Mittelstaedt, chairman and chief executive officer of Waste Connections, in a news release. "It's extremely rare to acquire six high-volume MSW landfills in a single transaction. We remain actively engaged in negotiations with Republic Services on additional required Department of Justice divestitures."...Read More »



Waste Connections Reports 22% Increase in 4Q Profits

Waste Connections, Inc. said net income for the fourth quarter increased to $27.9 million or $0.34 per share from $22.8 million or $0.33 per share in the corresponding quarter a year ago. Operating income for the quarter, however, declined to $49.3 million from $49.7 million in the same quarter a year ago as expenses increased. Cost of operations increased to $154.5 million from $149.8 million last year, while selling, general and administrative expenses rose to $29.9 million from $25.1 million in the comparable quarter a year ago. Depreciation expenses also rose slightly over a year ago. Revenues however rose by 4.8% to $259.6 million from $247.7 million in the corresponding quarter a year ago following the company's success in raising prices amid some decline in volume of waste handled. For the year, net income increased to $105.5 million or $1.42 per share from $99.1 million or $1.2 per share last year on revenues that rose to $1.05 billion from $958.54 million last year. Looking forward tothe full year 2009, the company expects a 14.5% increase in its revenues to $1.2 billion...Read More »



EPA Revisits California Waiver Decision on Vehicle Emission Standards

The EPA is beginning its review of the controversial 2007 decision denying California the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. New EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made the announcement last week following an order from President Obama to revisit the waiver denial issued by the Bush administration. Jackson said she believed the waiver to be "a substantial departure from EPA's long-standing interpretation of the Clean Air Act's waiver provisions." The President has supported letting California and other states set stricter standards for vehicle emissions than those of the federal government, which has been strongly opposed by the auto industry and the Bush administration. Automakers oppose California's plan to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2016 because it would result in a de facto increase in automobile fuel efficiency, which currently is set by the federal government and pave the way for a patchwork of different standards across the country. Instead, they would prefer a single fuel efficiency regulation approved by Congress and administered by the Transportation Department that is based on vehicle criteria, not emissions. The current proposal under consideration by transportation planners seeks to raise average fuel efficiency of the fleet by 40 percent by 2020. The California law would exceed that mandate years sooner...Read More »



Republic Services' Countywide Landfill to Submit Plan to Control Fires

Republic Services' troubled Countywide landfill in Stark County, OH has been directed by the US EPA to draft plans to permanently cap an 88-acre older portion of the 258-acre landfill where underground fires had been detected. This work comes in addition to a $6 million construction of a firebreak, said to be 60 percent complete, that involves the excavation of 400,000 cubic yards of waste to create a trench that is 80 feet deep, 700 feet long and 400 feet wide. That work is expected to be done by March, well before warmer weather would exaggerate odors from removed wastes. The landfill recently also became subject to a lawsuit challenging efforts by its host communities to limit out of district wastes. The rule is being challenged by the National Solid Wastes Management Association and is likely to end up before the Ohio Supreme Court...Read More »



Coal Ash Industry Seeks to Avoid Designation as Hazardous Waste

The coal ash industry is lobbying to counter a push by environmental groups to designate ash as a "hazardous waste," touting greenhouse gas (GHG) reducing benefits that would be lost if the EPA were to act on long-dormant proposals to impose strict disposal regulations in the wake of a recent massive ash spill at a TVA site in Tennessee. The American Coal Ash Association (ACAA) and others argue that ash reprocessing lowers emissions and should qualify for carbon offset credits in upcoming climate legislation. Coal ash can is used in place of Portland cement for some construction purposes. Hypothetically, manufacturing a ton of ash-based cement avoids the release of a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. Regulating it as a hazardous waste would destroy the ash-reprocessing industry...Read More »



Lending Agency Accuses SPSA of "Blatantly" Hiding Problems

The Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) "blatantly and recklessly misrepresented" its financial troubles according to a scathing letter from the executive director of the Virginia Resources Authority (VRA), a state lending agency owed more than $129 million by the troubled regional waste authority. The VRA, based in Richmond, will dispatch an accounting team "to sort out and get a handle on SPSA's true financial status," the executive director, Sheryl D. Bailey, wrote in her letter to SPSA's executive director, Bucky Taylor. The letter enumerated numerous discrepancies regarding the agency's borrowings and lines of credit, plans to repay them, and disclosures to the VRA, in addition to the misuse of borrowed funds as a source of "daily cash," according to the letter...Read More »



Plant in Vaughan, Ont. Converts MSW to Energy Pellets

A new waste processing plant has opened in Vaughan, Ont. that is processing 100,000 tons per year of municipal solid waste into fuel that can be burned in lieu of coal, is cleaner and renewable. The plant converts waste into pellets comprised of the otherwise non-recyclable, as well as post-industrial trash such as carpets and food industry waste. With a heat content of 10,000 to 12,000 btu/lb, they will have about the same efficiency as mid-range coal, but with a significantly cleaner emission profile. Currently the plant is operating at about half of its operating capacity of 200,000 tons per year. One challenge so far is the discrepancy between the $84 per ton waste-to-fuel conversion cost and the $60 per ton fee at the nearby London landfill...Read More »



Global Energy to Buy Landfill Gas from Republic Services

Global Energy Systems, a subsidiary of Global Energy Holdings Group, Inc. (GNH) said it acquired the right to purchase landfill gas from Republic Services, Inc. (RSG), the operator of the Hickory Ridge landfill in Conley, Georgia. Global Energy would process the landfill gas to convert it into a saleable energy product. Global Energy paid Republic a total of $3.35 million for the landfill gas purchase rights and would pay Republic a royalty based on revenues collected from the sale of the processed gas...Read More »



Global Energy to Build LFGTE Project for Charlotte County, FL

Global Energy Systems signed an agreement with Charlotte County, FL to build and operate a $6 million landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project at the county's Zemel Road Landfill. "The landfill will provide enough gas to generate enough electricity to power 1,500 homes in Charlotte County every year," said Charlie Wall, chief operating officer of Global Energy Systems, in a press release. "This proactive approach to carbon dioxide emissions reductions has the equivalent benefit of removing 17,000 vehicles from our roadways."...Read More »



Stericycle Posts Solid Fourth Quarter Sales and Profit Increase

Stericycle Inc., which manages medical waste for doctors' offices and hospitals, said that fourth-quarter profit rose 62% to $39.1 million, or $0.45 per share, from $24.1 million, or $0.27 per share, a year earlier. Revenues rose 8.9% to $274 million from $251.6 million, with about two-thirds of the increase coming from recent acquisitions. The company took charges for an arbitration settlement and to write down trade names and foreign investments. For all of 2008, the company earned $148.7 million, or $1.68 per share, on revenue of $1.08 billion, compared with net income of $118.4 million, or $1.32 per share, on revenue of $932.8 million in 2007...Read More »



UNC-Chapel Hill to Purchase Landfill Gas to Power New Campus

UNC-Chapel Hill has struck a deal with host community Orange County to use methane gas from the county's landfill to help power the future Carolina North campus nearby and gain federal carbon credits for reducing pollution. The university could pay as much as $1.7 million over 20 to 30 years for the gas, assuming UNC follows through with the construction of a pipeline from the landfill to the Carolina North campus...Read More »



Veolia ES Celebrates Destruction of Nerve Gas Agents for Army

Veolia ES Technical Solutions celebrated having safely transported and destroyed over 1.5 million gallons of hydrolysate, a nerve gas agent, as part of its work for the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency's (CMA) chemical stockpile elimination program. Over an 18-month period, the toxic material was transported from the Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Newport, IN to Veolia's incineration facility in Port Arthur, TX. At least part of the success was attributed to a proactive communications program to keep all stakeholders informed of the entire process...Read More »



Waste Services to Announce Fourth Quarter Earnings on February 24

Waste Services, Inc. will release fourth quarter financial results after the close of the market on Tuesday, February 24 and host a conference call the following day at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss them...Read More »



EnergySolutions to Announce Fourth Quarter Earnings on February 25

EnergySolutions, Inc., a provider of nuclear and hazardous waste services, plans to release fourth quarter and year-end earnings on February 25 after the market close. The company will host a conference call the following day at 10 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss them...Read More »


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