Weekly News Bulletin: Mar. 3-9, 2009


Republic Reports Fourth Quarter Loss Related to Merger

Republic Services Inc., which recently merged with Allied Waste Industries Inc. to create the second-largest U.S. waste company, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $131.7 million due to impairment and restructuring charges related to that deal. The company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $131.7 million or $0.55 per share, compared to a profit of $82.1 million or $0.44 per share in the prior year's quarter. These results comprised charges totaling $315.5 million for remediation and related costs, asset impairments, restructuring, landfill and intangible asset amortization expense, bad debt expense, legal settlement reserves and the synergy incentive plan. Results for 2008 include Allied Waste Industries Inc. from December 5, 2008, the effective date of the merger. On an adjusted basis, earnings were $0.41 per share for the fourth quarter. Quarterly revenues advanced to $1.24 billion from the last year's revenue of $796.0 million.

For the full year 2008, the company reported net income of $73.8 million or $0.37 per share, compared to $290.2 million or $1.51 per share in 2007. Annual revenue for 2008 increased to $3.69 billion, from $3.18 billion reported in the previous year. Taking into account continued expenses related to the merger, management forecasts 2009 earnings of between $1.10 and $1.15 per share. 2009 revenue is expected to surge by about 129%, reflecting increases of about 139% from the acquisition of Allied and price increases of about 4%, which will be partially offset by a decline of about 14% due to weaker economic conditions and divestitures...Read More »



BFI Canada Posts Revenues in Excess of $1.1 B For 2008

BFI Canada Ltd., which reports in Canadian dollars, said it earned $10.8 million, or $0.19 per share, up from earnings of $4.9 million, or $0.09 per share in the corresponding period last year. Fourth quarter revenue rose to $298.9 million from $251 million last year. For the year, earnings increased 47% to $46.6 million, or $0.81 per share from $31.7 million, or $0.56 per share last year. Revenues for he year rose 22% to $1.1 billion from $917.4 million in 2007. "Our performance in the fourth quarter and the year continued to be strong despite the challenging economic climate and the sudden decline in recycling commodity prices," said Keith Carrigan, vice chairman and CEO...Read More »



Covanta Reports Earnings Hurt by Non-Operating Events

Covanta Holding Corp. said fourth quarter net income dropped to $29.95 million, or $0.19 per share from $72.30 million or $0.47 per share in the corresponding quarter a year earlier. Excluding non-operating events however, earnings for the quarter were $0.22 per share, compared to $0.25 per share in the year ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter grew 5% to $413.82 million, from $395.39 million in the prior year comparative period. For the year revenue grew 16% to $1.66 billion from $1.43 billion in 2007. Net income grew 7% to $139 million, up from $131 million in 2007. Anthony Orlando, President and Chief Executive Officer of Covanta, stated that "In this difficult economic climate, we are fortunate that the vast majority of our revenues are derived from contracts to provide essential services. During 2008, waste processed at our Energy-from-Waste facilities hit record levels." For fiscal 2009, the company expects earnings to be in the range of $0.75 to $0.90 per share...Read More »



Clean Harbors' Fourth Quarter Earnings Higher on Lower Costs

Clean Harbors Inc., which provides hazardous waste management services, said its fourth-quarter profit rose 8 percent, as lower costs offset a decrease in revenue. The company said its earnings rose to $17.9 million, or 75 cents per share, in the last three months of 2008 from $16.6 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 3 percent to $249.8 million from $257.7 million. The company said it benefited from lower fuel prices during the quarter, while a weaker Canadian dollar boosted the value of U.S. dollars in Canada. Meanwhile, the company said its incineration utilization was 98 percent during the quarter, while landfill volumes rose 20 percent. For the full year, the company said earnings rose to $57.5 million, or $2.51 per share, from $44 million, or $2.14 per share in 2007. Revenue increased to $1.03 billion from $946.9 million...Read More »



Bill Gates Continues to Boost Stake in Republic to 15%

Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates continues to increase his stake in Republic Services, Inc. According to recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), he has raised his stake to 14.9 percent, up from 13.7 percent last month. He has made those purchases through his investment vehicle Cascade Investment LLC. Between Feb. 20 and March 2, Cascade bought 4,331,700 shares of common stock for a total of $92.8 million with its working capital, according to the filing...Read More »



Barron's Report on Stericycle is Very Bullish

This weekend's Barron's featured a story hailing Stericycle (SRCL) and its successful medical-waste business. The article points out that the company has met or beaten analysts' quarterly operating profit estimates for more than 40 consecutive quarters and continues to make gains despite the economic downturn. Barron's predicts that acquisitions and high-margin add-on services will fuel continued strong performance. The CFO told Barron's, "We aren't seeing any impact" from the economic slowdown. A likely reason for that is that 95% of Stericyle's revenue comes from long-term contracts, with automatic renewals. Stericycle has bought 157 companies since 1993 and has a pipeline of more than $50 million in domestic deals. It currently operates a network of 78 waste-treatment and collection sites serving 418,000 customers and commands a dominant 11% share of the $10 billion global medical-waste business. Since its founding in 1993, the company has continued to benefit from increasingly stringent medical waste disposal regulations and fewer hospitals destructing the waste themselves. Barron's speculates that the stock will return to last year's high of $66 within two years...Read More »



Tulsa, OK Considers Reopening its Waste-to-Energy Plant

The City of Tulsa, Oklahoma is said to be considering a plan to resume sending its waste to an old burn plant which has been inactive for almost two years. Currently, the city is bidding out its waste disposal, but expects that it may only receive one bidder -- the privately owned Walter B. Hall Resource Recovery Facility. City officials are receptive to the idea since the plant's central location would reduce wear and tear on collection vehicles and reduce waste otherwise destined for a landfill. The plant had operated for two decades until its long-term contract with the city expired in July, 2007. Steam generated by the process was sold to the nearby refinery...Read More »



Smurfit-Stone Expects to Report Big Loss in Fourth Quarter

Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. said it would recognize non-cash charges of $2.8 billion or $10.73 per share in the fourth quarter, related to the impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets. For the fourth quarter the company expects to report a net loss of $2.8 billion or $11.04 per share, on sales of $1.53 billion, while the company reported a profit of $41 million or $0.16 per share, on revenue of $1.84 billion in the corresponding quarter last year. The company, which is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, attributed the charges to "significant decline in value of its equity securities and debt instruments and downward pressure placed on earnings by the weakening U.S. economy." The write-off of goodwill has to do with the 1998 merger between Stone Container Corp. and Jefferson Smurfit Corp...Read More »



EnergySolutions Reports Decline in 4Q Earnings and Revenue despite Gains for the Year

Nuclear waste services provider EnergySolutions, Inc. reported fourth quarter net income of $2.4 million, or $0.03 per share, compared to a net loss of $4.8 million, or $0.11 per share in the previous year's quarter. Revenues for the quarter declined to $410 million from $428 million for the same quarter of 2007 as did gross profit which declined to $55.2 million from $62.4 million a year ago. Selling general and administrative expenses for the fourth quarter of 2008 included a non-recurring management compensation expense of $10.0 million. Other expenses included $5.4 million of non-cash foreign currency transaction losses, net of gains on related derivative contracts. According to CEO Steve Creamer, "I am proud of our performance given the current uncertain economic environment. EnergySolutions continues to operate profitably and generate positive cash flow."

On Monday the Company said that J. I. Everest stepped down as the company's vice chairman, effective Feb. 27, 2009. He will remain on the board of directors and plans to continue working with the EnergySolutions Foundation, but will resume his role as a partner in Western Pacific Group, an investment company owned by Everest and EnergySolutions Chief Executive Steve Creamer...Read More »



Boston Company Open Ethanol from Wood Demonstration Facility

A Boston, MA-based start-up company Mascoma announced that has begun operating a demonstration facility for converting wood chips and other non-food sources into ethanol. The test facility in Rome, NY is designed to use different feedstocks, including wood and grasses to produce 200,000 gallons per year in order to prove the commercial viability of the process. The company is testing two methods for making ethanol: a traditional enzyme-based process and one using a genetically modified microbe designed to make the conversion cheaper. Despite the tough economic environment, the company said that it is benefiting from state grants aimed at promoting renewable energy businesses...Read More »



Casella Waste to Release First Quarter Results on March 5

Casella Waste Systems will release financial results for its fiscal third quarter which ended on January, 31, on Wednesday, March 4 after the close of the market. The company will host a conference call the following day at 10 a.m. (ET) to discuss those results...Read More »



American Ecology Extends Stock Repurchase Program

American Ecology Corp. is extending its stock repurchase program until the end of the year. The Boise, ID-based hazardous and special waste services company's board previously authorized the repurchase of up to 600,000 shares, or 3% of the outstanding stock, in October. The company has also entered into a pre-arranged stock repurchase plan that will allow a third-party broker to repurchase shares in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions...Read More »


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