Weekly News Bulletin: Jul. 27-Aug. 2, 2010


Barron's: Why Republic Services Looks Sexy to Billionaires

A recent article in Barron's Magazine profiles Republic Services which it sees as an attractive investment, especially since analysts believe the stock could reach $37 on earnings that could rise 19% next year. The company more than doubled its sales through its merger with Allied Waste and has already achieved $180 million in synergies, in excess of expectations and ahead of schedule. The merger has given the company greater pricing power and as a result, it is on track to produce more than $700 million of free cash this year, on estimated revenues of $8.2 billion. Even though volumes were off 9.5% last year, the company managed to increase core pricing (excluding fuel and other surcharges) by 3%, which is likely to increase by a similar amount this year.

The article indicates that its stock is attractive on the basis that Republic's enterprise value (market value plus net debt) is only 7.1 times 2011 expected EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). Republic has spent $2.3 billion since 2000 to buy back 44% of its shares, CEO James O'Connor, who is retiring this year, expects the board to approve another $40 million repurchase program this year. The company has pared its debt, now equal to 48% of total capital, and pays a dividend of 76 cents, which is likely to increase.

Consequently, Republic has appealed to billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who have large holdings. As of March 31 this year, Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, owned nearly 15% of Republic's 382 million shares through Cascade Investment, while his pal Warren Buffet, through Berkshire Hathaway, holds 10.8 million shares, or 2.8%...Read More »



Less Waste to Wisconsin Landfills in 2009; Reflects National Trend

The amount of waste disposed in Wisconsin landfills fell sharply in 2009, the result of a down economy, higher state tipping fees and a 31% drop in waste imported from other states. The total amount of waste disposed of in landfills in 2009 dropped 15 percent, from 10.3 millions tons in 2008 to 8.8 million tons, in 2009. Municipal solid waste (MSW) from households, institutions and commercial establishments fell an estimated 22% from 6.2 to 4.8 million tons in 2009. Ann Coakley, director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said an increase in the state landfill tipping fee also may have reduced the amount of waste disposed of by communities and made it less attractive to haul out-of-state waste to Wisconsin landfills. It is not clear yet if the drop in volume may be partly the result of increased waste exports to surrounding states as a result of the price increase. Earlier this month, Virginia reported a similar yet less dramatic drop in landfill volumes and a 19% drop in out-of-state waste.

According to Waste Business Journal statistics, the trend nationwide is somewhat similar, except for C&D wastes which declined by nearly 20% across the US last year. Wastes from US businesses declined by 15% and nationwide residential waste declined a more modest 3% for a net decline of 7% in US landfilled waste in 2009...Read More »



Covanta Holding's Profits Down Despite 16% Jump in Revenue

Covanta Holding Corp. reported second quarter net income that was lower than expected and despite a 16% year over year increase in revenues for the period. Net income fell to $25.7 million or $0.17 per share, compared to $33.2 million or $0.21 per share in the same period last year. Most of the decline was related to non-cash charges, including expenses related to the special dividend, interest expense and a higher book tax rate due to the sunset of production tax credits. On the other hand, the company's revenues rose 16% to $435 million from $376 million in the prior year period having benefited from the acquisition of new businesses, higher metal prices and increased construction revenue related to its Honolulu (H-Power) expansion project. International segment revenue increased $6 million or 15% to $48 million in the second quarter. Consequently, the company reaffirmed its belief that earnings per share for the year will be in the range of $0.55 to $0.75...Read More »



IESI-BFC Posts Strong Second Quarter on Higher Prices and Volume

IESI-BFC Ltd. (Toronto, ON), formerly BFI Canada, reported second quarter profits that jumped on improved volumes and higher pricing. Net income rose to $23.3 million, or $0.25 per share, up from $14.6 million or $0.18 per share in the year-earlier. Revenue increased by 18% to $299.6 million from $253.7 million in the second quarter of 2009. Core pricing (absent fuel surcharges) increased by 3% in Canada along with volumes that grew by 7.2% there. In the US, core prices increased by 2% along with volumes that grew by 3.4%. The company also benefitted from its recent acquisition of Waste Services, lower interest rates and debt levels, lower capital and landfill purchases that helped improve performance, partially offset by higher taxes in Canada. IESI-BFC Ltd. is one of North America's largest waste management companies with operations in 11 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces...Read More »



WM Building Medical Waste Business with Acquisition in Florida

Waste Management's medical waste subsidiary WM Healthcare Solutions has acquired a medical waste processing facility and collection assets of Dover, Florida-based Bio-Spec, a provider of medical waste collection and treatment services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes an 8,000 square-foot chemical treatment facility in Edgewater and four transfer stations in Dover, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Palm Beach. "This acquisition enables us to service small and large healthcare customers in central Florida, and fits into Waste Management's strategy to manage solid waste, medical, recycling and pharmaceutical waste for the healthcare industry," said Vernon Wells, general manager of WM Healthcare Solutions.

Beginning in late 2008, Waste Management began a series of acquisitions in the medical waste services arena with an eye towards building its credentials as a full service provider able to offer its customers a complete portfolio of waste and resource management options. Last month the company bought a 35,000 square-feet facility in Phoenix, AZ that includes a 30-ton-per-day autoclave unit from Milum Textile Services Co. In May the company acquired certain Midwestern assets of MedServe, Inc. that were required divestitures of Stericycle which recently acquired that company. Last October, WM acquired Mountain High Medical Disposal Services, Inc., a medical waste firm serving the Salt Lake City area and Idaho. In April, 2009, WM bought PharmEcology Associates, a medical waste consulting firm. In March 2009, WM bought a medical waste operation in Woodstock, GA. In November, 2008 WM bought Spectrum Environmental Solutions of Escondido, CA...Read More »



EPA Outlines Plan to Deploy Environmental Justice

The US EPA has outlined a plan for placing special emphasis on the health of low-income and minority populations when drafting regulations, otherwise known as environmental justice. Under interim guidance, EPA staff would reach out to people in the affected communities early in the process, building awareness and seeking community sentiment. "Historically, the low-income and minority communities that carry the greatest environmental burdens haven't had a voice in our policy development or rulemaking," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "This plan is part of my ongoing commitment to give all communities a seat at the decision-making table." However, businesses worry that the result may hamper economic activity, inadvertently costing jobs at a time of already high unemployment. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned that while it "supports the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the regulatory process regardless of race, ethnicity or income," an environmental justice program "introduces intolerable uncertainty into the regulatory process" and "ultimately prevents economic development in the most disadvantaged communities in the nation."...Read More »



Veolia ES Solid Waste Acquires Indiana Waste Systems

Veolia ES Solid Waste (Milwaukee, WI) has bought Indiana Waste Systems (Monticello, IN), in an effort to expand the company's presence in western and northern Indiana. The acquired operations include a transfer station, roll-off trucks and containers and will contribute about 16,000 tons of additional annual volume. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. "The acquisition of these assets is consistent with our strategy of entering new marketplaces through the acquisition of fully-integrated operations," said Jim Long, President and CEO of Veolia ES Solid Waste. "In addition, Jeff Van Weelden, owner and operator of IWS, will join our team. "Jeff has built a solid company and has established strong business relationships, which will help us quickly grow market share in northern Indiana," Long said...Read More »



Stericycle Reports Expected Sale of $400 Million of New Notes

Medical waste management company Stericycle Inc. (SRCL) said it received informal commitments from 22 institutional investors to purchase $175 million of its new 3.89% seven-year unsecured senior notes and $225 million of its new 10-year 4.47% unsecured senior notes. The company expects the note purchase agreement to be signed in August 2010 and that the new senior notes to be issued in October 2010. The company will host an investor conference call to discuss the transaction on Wednesday, July 28 at 5 pm (ET)...Read More »



Spain's Gestamp Joins Forces with Clean Power to Develop Projects in Northeast

Spain's Gestamp, a global renewable energy company, is teaming with Clean Power Development of New Hampshire to develop, finance and operate up to 180MW of potential biomass energy projects across eight states in the US Northeast. The venture's initial focus will be on building multiple projects that generate electrical and thermal energy for sale to nearby or co-located industries. The first joint project will be a 29MW combined heat and power biomass facility in Berlin, New Hampshire, which is fully permitted to begin construction. Clean Power will manage a portfolio of selected new biomass energy projects to be developed throughout the region. Gestamp Biomass, in turn, will provide project equity and arrange the balance of plant financing for the projects undertaken. "Clean Power Development's impressive management team brings essential expertise to our plan to significantly expand our presence in biomass energy in the USA," says Emilio L. Lopez, chief executive of Gestamp Biomass, a unit of Gestamp Renewables, based in Madrid.

Gestamp Corporation operates 80 plants in 25 countries, including five US plants located in Alabama, Michigan and South Carolina, with a new facility planned for Tennessee. Gestamp Renewables' US activities include wind power operations in Oklahoma and Nebraska, and plans to build one of the world's largest solar power facilities in New Mexico...Read More »



Ameresco, Inc. Prices Initial Public Offering at $10

Landfill gas-to-energy developer Ameresco, Inc. (Framingham, MA) priced its initial public offering of 8.7 million shares of Class A common stock at $10 per share. Of the total offering, 6 million are being sold by the company and 2.7 million by existing shareholders. Shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AMRC" on July 22. Ameresco develops renewable energy projects and improves facilities' energy infrastructure through its network of 54 offices in 29 states and 4 Canadian provinces...Read More »



US Recovered Paper Consumption Rising

U.S. consumption of recovered paper increased 6 percent to 2.6 million tons from last year's level, according to the latest report by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). Even though June consumption was essentially unchanged from the previous month, the U.S. consumed 8.2% more recovered paper in the first 6 months of 2010 than during the same period last year. Total recovered paper exports in 2010 are flat compared with exports in the same 6 months in 2009...Read More »



Interstate Waste Services Appoints New CEO

Interstate Waste Services (Ramsey, NJ) has appointed Michael de Castro as its new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining the company de Castro was the Global Operations Director, Americas Merchant Gases for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Prior to that, he spent 14 years with American Ref-Fuel Company which is now part of Covanta Energy. Interstate Waste Services is an integrated waste management company with operations in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. It is a portfolio company of Highstar Capital which also owns Advanced Disposal in Jacksonville, FL...Read More »



Clean Harbors to Report 2Q Results on Aug. 4; Likely to See Jump

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) will announce second quarter financial results during an investor conference call on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 9 am (ET). In May the company said that it expected a revenue boost of nearly 20 percent related to its work cleaning up the BP oil spill in the Gulf...Read More »



US Ecology Profit and Revenue Suffer on Project Completion

US Ecology Inc. reported second quarter net income that fell slightly short of expectations to $2.3 million or $0.13 per share, from $3.5 million or $0.19 per share, in the second quarter last year. Revenues earned in the second quarter were off sharply to $19.8 million, from $36.4 million in the same quarter last year. While "base" business (revenue from recurring waste streams) increased 7% in the quarter, "event" remediation (revenue from discrete projects) declined 48% due to the completion of the Honeywell project in 2009. Excluding Honeywell, event revenue would have been down only 1% year over year...Read More »



Smurfit-Stone Will Report 2Q Results on Aug. 3

Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. said it will release second quarter financial results prior to the opening of the market on Tuesday, Aug. 3 and host a conference call later that morning at 10 am (ET) to discuss those results...Read More »



WCA Waste Corp. to Report Second Quarter on Aug. 4

WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) will report second quarter financial results after the market closes on Wednesday, August 4 and then host a conference call the following day at 8:30 am (ET) to discuss them...Read More »


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