Weekly News Bulletin: Aug. 5-11, 2009


Waste Management Gains Foothold in Chinese Waste-to-Energy Market with 40% Stake

Waste Management is getting a foothold in the Chinese waste to energy market by buying a 40% stake in Shanghai Environment Group Co Ltd. (SEG) from parent Shanghai Chengtou Holding Co Ltd. SEG is mainly engaged in household waste transportation, waste to energy and has many build-operate-transfer projects in Shanghai, Nanjin, Chengdu and Ningbo.

"SC Holding and SEG are great partners for us as we venture into the growing Chinese market," said David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management. "We see waste as a resource, and we see international expansion of our waste-to-energy business through our subsidiary, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc, as a growth engine for us in the future. Wheelabrator's operational excellence coupled with SEG's market position and local expertise provides a strong competitive advantage. Through this joint venture, SEG can bring increased operating and technical efficiencies and solutions to the rapidly growing Chinese waste-to-energy market."

SEG had total assets of RMB 4.06 billion (US$ 594 mil.) and net assets of RMB 1.85 billion (US$ 270 mil.) as of Jun. 30, 2008...Read More »



Waste Management 2Q Net Income and Revenue Down in Recession

Waste Management Inc. posted a 22% drop in second-quarter earnings as the recession eroded demand for industrial services and recycled commodities. Net income fell to $247 million, or $0.50 per share, from $318 million, or $0.64 per share, a year earlier. Factoring out one-time items, profit would have been $0.52 per share. Revenue fell 15% to $2.95 billion. The company plans to resume its share buyback program, with the board authorizing the repurchase of up to $400 million in shares through the rest of the year. It is also changing its ticker symbol to "WM" from "WMI" effective August 5.

The recession has led businesses to cut back on garbage removal and there is less construction site debris owing to less building activity. Meanwhile, manufacturers and particularly paper producers are demanding far less recycled materials which have led to a collapse in commodity prices. CEO David Steiner said conditions are improving, however, and the company expects to see "more modest" negative year-over-year impacts from recycling in the second half of the year.

Waste Management's waste-to-energy subsidiary, Wheelabrator Technologies, felt an unexpected hit with falling natural gas prices. More than one-fourth of Wheelabrator plants sell electricity to power grids and the price has fallen in line with natural gas prices.

However, Waste Management's commercial and residential waste removal businesses showed "recession-resistant qualities," Steiner said...Read More »



Republic Services Posts Big Gains in Wake of Merger and Cost Cutting

Republic Services Inc. second-quarter earnings soured as a result of a big gain on the sale of Allied Waste assets while cost-cutting efforts are ahead of schedule. Net income rose to $225.9 million, or $0.59 per share, from $40.7 million, or $0.22 per share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included a net $0.20 in gains. Revenue more than doubled to $2.07 billion, including the acquisition of Allied. However, all waste companies are dealing with lower volumes and recycled commodity prices resulting from the recession. But Republic, now the second-largest player in the industry, is saving money as it integrates Allied Waste and is trying to keep prices strong in the face of declining demand. The company expects to realize $125 million of run-rate savings by year-end, up 25% from its previous target. It has also raised next year's target to $165 million from $150 million. For the year, Republic raised its forecast, saying it expects adjusted per-share earnings of $1.43 to $1.45, even while itexpects an 11% to 11.8% decline in pro-forma revenue...Read More »



Veolia ES Buys Republic Assets in Kentucky

Veolia ES Solid Waste said it has acquired certain assets in Kentucky that Republic Services had been required to sell as a condition of its recent merger with Allied Waste. The assets include five commercial collection routes in the Lexington, KY area which Veolia expects to internalize at its Morehead Landfill in nearby Rowan County, KY. Although terms of the transaction were not disclosed, the company estimates that the acquired assets will generate about $2.2 million in annual revenue. "The acquisition of these assets is consistent with our strategic plan of acquiring operations that can synergize with existing collection operations and provide new disposal volume for our existing landfills," said Jim Long, the newly appointed president and CEO of Veolia ES Solid Waste...Read More »



Waste Connections Buys Large Private Hauler in Eugene, OR

In the latest in a series of ambitious asset purchases, Waste Connections, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Sanipac, Inc. based in Eugene, OR, the largest privately owned solid waste services provider in Oregon. Sanipac employs about 145 people and serves more than 60,000 customers. Waste Connections expects to close the transaction during the third quarter. With the Sanipac deal and others already completed, "acquisition activity in the year totals approximately $165 million of annualized revenue," said Ronald Mittelstaedt, Waste Connections' chairman and CEO, in a release announcing the deal and the company's financial results for the second quarter of 2008...Read More »



Toxic Spill Injures More than 100 at ABC Disposal in Massachusetts

At least 119 people have been hospitalized following a hazardous chemical spill at a New Bedford, MA waste transfer station on Aug. 3. A commercial container evidently containing a hazardous substance was dumped on the receiving floor of the transfer station operated by ABC Disposal Service Inc. Local fire department officials transported at least 55 people to two area hospitals, others went on their own, and most were treated and released. Two workers unloading the container were initially reported to be in critical condition. National Guard hazmat teams were in place for about 12 hours but have not found any dangerous vapors since the incident...Read More »



New York City Delays E-Waste Deadline after Federal Lawsuit

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has decided to stay all requirements of the New York City e-waste program pending a ruling on the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) lawsuit that seeks an injunction to stop the department from enforcing the Friday deadline when manufacturers were to file collection plans with the city or risk $1,000-a-day fines. Oral arguments on the lawsuit have been scheduled for Oct. 23 and should CEA and ITI's injunction be denied, DSNY has agreed not to require E-Waste Management Plans until 30 days after the judge's decision, DSNY said in a notice on its Web site. The CEA and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) recently filed suit charging that the city's e-waste rules were illegal and would "impose crushing costs and excessive burdens" on electronics manufacturers. They claim that the law violates federal commerce laws by attempting to regulate businesses from around the world and discriminates against those that do not have operations in the city...Read More »



Counties Want Industry to Fund Pharmaceutical Waste Programs

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unanimously adopted a resolution urging industry, rather than federal, state or local governments, to fund and manage pharmaceutical take-back programs aimed at reducing the improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste. The move comes as EPA is facing strong criticism from a broad range of stakeholders, including some counties, over its proposal to ease pharmaceutical waste regulations, which the agency has argued would promote take-back programs. The agency is proposing to add pharmaceuticals to the list of so-called universal wastes under its Resource Conservation & Recovery Act regulations (RCRA). Critics charge that the proposal will be largely ineffective in encouraging take-back programs, saying implementation would be rendered moot if other federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration do not similarly revise their own regulations...Read More »



WCA Waste Swings to Slight Loss despite Improved Margins

WCA Waste Corp. said second quarter earnings swung to a loss along with a modest drop in revenue, despite improved operating margins. The company lost $229,000 or $0.01 per share, on revenue of $50.2 million for the quarter down from earning $0.11 per share on revenue of $52.7 million in the same period last year. Chairman Tom Fatjo said, "We are pleased with our operating results reported for the quarter. After excluding the non-operational expenses, EBITDA was $13.9 million, or 27.6% of revenue, for the second quarter of 2009 as compared to $13.6 million, or 25.7% of revenue, for the same period in 2008. The higher EBITDA margin was achieved even though revenue was down $2.6 million quarter over quarter. We are excited about several new prospective contracts and acquisition opportunities that exist both in our current footprint and in new market areas."...Read More »



Rumpke Completes Purchase of Northeast Ohio Assets from Republic Services

Cincinnati, OH-based Rumpke Consolidated said it formally closed on its previously announced purchase of assets from Republic Services, Inc. in the northeast Ohio market. The assets include the Harvard Road Transfer Station in Newburgh Heights and the 300-acre Noble Road Landfill and the Richland County Recycling and Transfer Station, both near Mansfield, OH. Those facilities serve 39,000 residential and 3,000 commercial customers in Medina, Wayne, Richland, Morrow, Ashland, Huron, Knox, Lorain, Crawford, Holmes and Marion counties. Rumpke also acquired 60 vehicles and intends to keep many of Republic Services' employees. Terms of the sale were not disclosed...Read More »



IESI-BFC Posts Smaller 2nd Quarter Profit on Lower Volumes

IESI-BFC Ltd., formerly BFI Canada, reported lower second quarter profit, as the company collected and recycled lower volumes of industrial waste in Canada and the US. Net income declined to $15.1 million or $0.18 per share from $17.4 million, or $0.25 per share, a year ago. Revenue for the quarter fell 9% to $253.7 million mostly as a result of a 1.1% decline in volume in Canada and a 4.4% decline in US volumes...Read More »



Perma-Fix Announces Departure of Chief Operating Officer

Perma-Fix Environmental Services Inc. said it accepted the resignation of its chief operating officer Mr. Larry McNamara, following a company announcement last month that he did not have a college degree as he had originally represented to the company. The resignation is effective September 1, 2009. Mr. McNamara's duties as Chief Operating Officer will be temporarily assumed by Dr. Louis F. Centofanti, the Company's Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, while the Company commences a search for a new Chief Operating Officer...Read More »



Smurfit-Stone to Convert Advanced Disposal Facility into MRF

Advanced Disposal Services is again partnering with Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. and this time joining forces with Cobb County, Georgia. They have formed a partnership under which Smurfit-Stone's Recycling Division will convert Advanced Disposal's composting facility in Marietta, Georgia, into a materials recycling facility (MRF). Smurfit-Stone will retrofit sort line equipment at the 200,000 square-foot composting facility to provide residential and commercial recycling services. Smurfit-Stone also has invested in production tracking equipment to improve customer service and efficiency by identifying and reducing the causes of downtime on the facility's sort lines and balers. The deal with Advanced Disposal and Cobb County reflects a strategy of forming strategic partnerships with cities and waste haulers to improve the recovery of reusable materials from municipal solid waste streams, Smurfit-Stone said...Read More »



Startech Deploys Shareholder Rights Plan to Thwart Suitor

In an effort to forestall an unsolicited takeover bid by Friendly LRL Holdings, LLC (FLH) of Geneva, Switzerland, the board of directors of Wilton, CT-based Startech Environmental Corp. has unanimously approved a short-term Stockholder Rights Plan to give the company time to explore an alternative deal. The Startech board had previously recommended that the company's shareholders reject Friendly LRL's cash offer of $0.65 per share. The Stockholder Rights Plan expires on Aug. 24, 2009, giving the board the time it believes necessary to further evaluate Friendly LRL's offer and other alternatives. Under the plan, "rights will be exercisable if a person or group acquires 15% or more of the company's common stock. Each right will then entitle all stockholders, other than the acquiring person or group, to purchase a number of shares of common stock having a market value equal to twice the exercise price of $1.30." Startech is a developer of a plasma-based technology for treating and recycling hazardous wastes...Read More »



Clean Harbors Profit Declines in 2nd Quarter

Clean Harbors Inc. said that second quarter profits fell 46%, citing acquisition expenses and the impact of a challenging economy. Earnings fell to $8.6 million, or $0.36 per share, from $16 million, or $0.70 per share, during the same period last year. The company realized $3.3 million in expenses related to its recent acquisition of Eveready Inc., a Canadian firm that provides services to oil and gas refineries and other industries. Meanwhile, revenue slid 19% to $215.3 million from $265.3 million. Their site services division took a hit, as petrochemical, specialty chemical, manufacturing and utility clients scaled back spending to conserve capital. "The silver lining to this shortfall is that the vast majority of these projects have been delayed rather than canceled, and we are beginning to see a pick-up in activity this quarter," said CEO Alan McKim. Including a five-month contribution from Eveready, the company projected full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization between $173 million and $180 million. Separately, the company plans to offer $250 million in senior secured notes due 2016, with plans to use net proceeds to pay off debt and for general corporate purposes...Read More »



RecycleBank Brings Rewards-based Recycling to Chicago

RecycleBank announced that it is bringing its rewards-based recycling system to Chicago. Under a partnership with the city, the program will be launched in stages to select wards. Under the RecycleBank program, households receive "points," redeemable in the form of discounts on the purchase of goods provided by participating merchants, based on the weight of the materials they recycle. The city selected 10,000 households in wards 5, 8, and 19 to participate in the first phase of the program, based on the mix of single-family homes and multi-unit buildings in the wards, and on the fact that the city has the best data on recycling under its Blue Cart program for these wards. "RecycleBank continues to demonstrate that when financial incentives are aligned, people will make the better environmental choice," said RecycleBank CEO Ron Gonen. "We look forward to working with Mayor [Richard] Daley, the local business community, local community and environmental organizations, and households to achieve Chicago's environmental goals."...Read More »



Opponents of NRC-KAB Merger Launch New Recycling Organization

Activists displeased with the proposed merger of the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) are launching their own organization called the Recycling Organizations of North America (RONA). Behind the effort are two top leaders of NRC's Recycling Organization Council. They believe that many recycling initiatives and more importantly issues of producer responsibility will not be effectively represented under KAB. The group, which only recently filed for papers of incorporation in Colorado, said it wants to create a "larger umbrella" than that afforded by the proposed merger of NRC and KAB. Nevertheless, five state recycling organizations have endorsed the NRC-KAB merger. Marjorie Griek, executive director of the Colorado Association for Recycling, and past chair of the NRC Recycling Organization Council, and John Frederick, executive director for the Professional Recyclers Pennsylvania and vice chair for the Recycling Organization Council, are spearheadingthe formation of RONA. "RONA is rising from growing concern among past and current recycling leadership for change," said the press release announcing RONA's formation...Read More »


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