Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 3-9, 2009


Waste Management Profit Off on Lower Volume and Recycling Demand

Waste Management, Inc. posted an 11% drop in third quarter profit, mostly a result of lower volume, particularly from businesses and construction projects, and lower prices paid for recycled material. Earnings fell to $277 million, or $0.56 per share, from $310 million, or $0.63 per share, a year earlier. Factoring out one-time items, profit would have been $0.54 per share. Revenue fell 14 percent to $3.02 billion. However, CEO David Steiner is optimistic that volumes have stabilized and that current cost control measures, including staff reductions and a salary freeze will keep the company on track to earn $1.95 to $1.99 per share for the year...Read More »



Republic Services Profit up 36% on Merger and Cost Savings

Republic Services Inc.'s third-quarter profit jumped 36% on higher revenue, the result of its acquisition in December of Allied Waste. Net income rose to $120.5 million, or $0.32 per share, from $88.7 million, or $0.48 per share, in the same period last year. Shares outstanding more than doubled because of the merger. Revenue more than doubled to $2 billion, up from $834 million in the third quarter of 2008. Consequently, Republic raised its 2009 guidance for the second time this year to $1.46 to $1.48 per share, as the company has realizing planned cost savings from the deal ahead of schedule. The company has also managed to keep prices up to help offset a modest decline in volume due to the ailing economy. In September, the company sold $650 million of 10-year notes, in part to fund debt-buyback that pushed back its debt maturities...Read More »



Bill Gates' Cascade Investment Manager Joins Republic's Board

The business manager for billionaire Bill Gates is joining the board at Republic Services Inc. Michael Larson, who is chief investment officer for Cascade Investment LLC, an investment company owned by Gates that also serves the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, will join Republic's board as a member of its compensation committee and its nominating and corporate governance committee. His appointment marks the first time that Cascade has become directly involved with the company of which it owns roughly 15%. Republic is the nation's second-largest waste-handling company with operations in 40 states...Read More »



EPA Coal Ash Disposal Rule Has Loophole Say Critics

Various proposals by the US EPA to regulate coal ash under a so-called "hybrid" approach, which declares it non-hazardous under some conditions and hazardous under others, has drawn criticism from all quarters. The latest proposal, included in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) document released Friday, would designate coal ash hazardous if stored wet, but non-hazardous if kept in a dry landfill. Environmental groups including Earthjustice complain that would create a loophole for industry to evade government regulation. Coal ash waste, whether it is stored wet or dry, can contain varying levels of arsenic, mercury, radioactivity, lead and other toxic substances. Dry ash disposal runs the risk of becoming airborne and has already spoiled waters in Maryland, Indiana and elsewhere, said Lisa Evans, an attorney with Earthjustice. "We would not think that would be a protective scheme, with the many cases where dry disposal has caused contamination of groundwater and surface water," she said...Read More »



SPSA to Get New Leadership at Critical Time

The troubled Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) representing eight member municipalities in southeastern Virginia will get new leadership. Under a new law, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine is to choose a non-elected representative with general business experience from each locality to serve on SPSA's board. Many of SPSA's woes including its budget deficit and $240 million mountain of debt are blamed on years of mismanagement under a board fraught with conflicts of interest. The changes in leadership come at an important time for the authority as it weighs a $150 million sale of its waste to energy plant. It is also considering a New York firm's offer to buy the agency outright. According to an article in The Virginian-Pilot, some including Del. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake), who sponsored the new law, are worried that "the current board will rush through the deal to sell the power plant and basically tie the hands of the new board."...Read More »



Linde and Waste Management Open Landfill LNG Facility

Waste Management, Inc. and Linde North America announced that their joint venture has begun producing renewable vehicle fuel at the Altamont Landfill near Livermore, CA. The plant, which Linde built and operates, purifies and liquefies gas that Waste Management collects from the landfill. The plant is expected to produce up to 13,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas a day, which is enough to fuel 300 of Waste Management's 485 liquefied natural gas waste and recycling collection vehicles in 20 California communities. Four state agencies, including the California Integrated Waste Management Board, California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission and South Coast Air Quality Management District contributed a combined $15.5 million to help fund the project. Linde North America is part of The Linde Group, a global gases and engineering company...Read More »



IESI-BFC Profits Rise despite Slight Decline in Revenue

IESI-BFC Ltd. (formerly BFI Canada, Toronto, Ont.) said third quarter profits increased despite a modest decline in US waste volume and revenue. Net income rose to US$19.1 million, or $0.20 per share from US$16.3 million, or $0.24 per share last year. Per share figures reflect a higher share count this year as a result of equity offerings in March and June. Revenue for the quarter declined to US$268.4 million from US$282.2 million in the comparable quarter last year. "We delivered strong performance in the third quarter relative to current economic conditions," said Keith Carrigan, vice chairman and CEO. "We continued to drive core price growth in our business and achieved positive volume in our Canadian operations with only a marginal volume decline in the U.S."...Read More »



WCA Waste Corp. Buys Rail-Haul Business from Boston to Ohio

WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) is expanding to the north with the acquisition of a landfill in Ohio, a transfer station in near Boston and a rail haul operation that connects the two. The company signed a letter of intent to acquire the operations of Live Earth LLC, whose operations include the Sunny Farms landfill in Seneca County, Ohio, and Champion City Recovery, a transfer station permitted to accept 1,000 tons per day near Boston. The rail haul operation is over a CSX rail line connecting the transfer station to the landfill which is currently averaging about 3,200 tons per day.

Chris Valerian, CEO of Live Earth will join WCA Waste to continue to operate the landfill and rail operations. Valerian was formerly with Liberty Waste. "Successful completion of this transaction will expand our footprint into the Midwest and East Coast which we believe will increase our acquisition pipeline beyond the current focus area," WCA Waste Chairman Tom Fatjo said. Completion of the acquisition is subject to further due diligence, shareholder approval and other customary conditions.

WCA Waste currently operates in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas...Read More »



Laidlaw Energy to Convert Massachusetts Power Plant to Biomass

Laidlaw Biopower, LLC, an affiliate of Laidlaw Energy Group, Inc. (New York, NY), recently signed a memorandum of understanding with an affiliate of a Massachusetts-based private equity firm to initially lease and eventually acquire an operating oil and gas-fired power plant in southeastern Massachusetts, for the purpose of converting the plant to biomass-fired power. The output of the converted plant will serve the electric and thermal needs of a nearby manufacturer of solar PV products, with the balance of the electricity generated to be delivered to the electric grid. Laidlaw said that it has concurrently executed a letter of intent with the PV company, specifying the terms of a proposed 20-year PPA that the parties intend to negotiate. "This project is a win-win," said Laidlaw President and CEO Michael Bartoszek. "Not only does it offer significant environmental benefits by converting a fossil fuel plant to a renewable fuel, it also helps support a leading cleantech company make innovative products to further support the shift to alternative energy."...Read More »



Republic to Build New MRF in Texas Where Recycling Rate Is Up

Republic Services said it is building a third materials recovery facility (MRF) in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. The company said that greater public participation facilitated by single-stream recycling, which requires much less presorting, and the implementation of programs in schools and businesses is actually increasing demand despite the effects of the economy. A partnership in north central Texas with RecycleBank that rewards customers for recycling with coupons redeemable at retail partners has boosted rates. In July, the City of Carrollton reported a 12 percent increase in its recycling rate for a six-month period since introduction of the program...Read More »



Honeywell Co. to Provide Process for Italian Biomass-to-Oil Plant

Envergent Technologies LLC, a division of Honeywell (NYSE: HON), announced that Italian power company Industria e Innovazione has chosen the Envergent RTP rapid thermal processing technology for the development of a facility to convert biomass into pyrolysis oil for renewable power generation. Envergent will provide engineering for the facility which is expected to commence operations in 2012...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin