Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 2-8, 2010


Waste Management 3Q Profit Down Amid Charges, Despite Gain in Revenue

Waste Management Inc.'s (Houston, TX) third quarter profit declined 12 percent amid charges and despite a healthy increase in revenue, driven by top line growth. Earnings fell to $244 million, or $0.51 per share, down from $277 million, or $0.56 per share, in the third quarter of 2009 as the company took charges on last year's taxes and environmental cleanup projects. Revenues rose by 7 percent to $3.24 billion from $3.02 billion last year. Landfill disposal volume was up 2.1% as average recycling commodity prices jumped 20%. The company said that excluding one-time items, its earnings would have been $0.55 per share. The company also said that some profits were sapped by early-stage projects that are not yet producing returns and by maintenance costs at waste-to-energy plants. Leftover tax expenses from 2009 and the costs of closing three sites cost $0.04 per share. Company CEO David Steiner commented, "When we look at our earnings, our collection, landfill and recycling businesses all performed solidly during the quarter. Each of these business lines increased operating earnings and improved operating margins compared with the prior year period."...Read More »



Pennsylvania Approves Hard Fought Alliance Landfill Expansion

Waste Management's Alliance Sanitary Landfill, near Scranton, PA won a crucial permit expansion from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that allows it to grow by 87 acres. The expansion was approved as part of a 10-year renewal of its operating permit which was granted in 1996 and scheduled to expire on October 31. The renewal allows for an initial daily volume of 3,000 tons per day that can be scaled up to a final permit limit of 4,750 tons per day and incorporates federal and state recommendations to strengthen air monitoring requirements and conditions to ensure safe operations. Plans to expand have met with the usual local opposition from resident's concerned about potential harmful impacts on health, safety and quality of life. When Alliance announced its plans for a 147-acre expansion in the late 1990s, the outcry was immediate. Residents spoke out against the change and consequently, DEP denied the landfill's application in May 2001, saying that harms outweighed the benefits. In June 2005, Alliance tried again with the scaled down proposal that was recently approved...Read More »



California Punts Decision on Landfill Fee amid Industry Outcry

California's waste department has temporarily abandoned plans to establish a new fee on landfills after receiving overwhelming resistance from industry, saying they need time to review "considerable" comments on the plan. The Department of Resources, Recycling & Recovery (CalRecycle) proposed the fee to finance recently adopted "financial assurance" rules that aim to protect the state from paying for landfill cleanups where operators default or go bankrupt. The new fee is comparable to those already in place for state water board and toxics department programs. However, industry has criticized the fee as unnecessary and ill-timed given the fragile state of the economy. On the other hand, environmentalists favor the fee as conforming to the concept of the "polluter pays" model. Moreover, the waste department argues the fee is necessary to cover additional programs added to the department after its reorganization that have increased its financial burden. Meanwhile, the economic downturn has decreased landfill volumes from which it earns fees while increased diversion to recycling has compounded the problem...Read More »



New California Carpet Recycling Law Could be Model for Other States

California has signed a new law that creates a consumer-funded system for the recycling of all carpet sold in the state, estimated to represent 10% of the US market. Environmentalists and industry stakeholders, including the World Floor Coverings Association (WFCA), say it will likely serve as a model for other states wishing to divert carpet from landfills. Many environmentalists are also optimistic that the new product stewardship law (A.B. 2398) will serve as a model for other industries such as batteries, which are already recycled in Europe and Canada through product stewardship programs, and florescent light bulbs. The final law names the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) as the official organization to oversee the initiative following negotiations with industry that was initially concerned about a new bureaucracy. A.B. 2398, which was signed into law Sept. 30 by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, charges a 5-cent-per-yard after-tax fee on all carpet sold in the state after July 1, 2011. However, many feel that fee will certainly have to be increased to cover the actual costs of the program...Read More »



Construction Begins on 150 TPD Pyrolysis Gasification Plant in Green Bay, WI

A corporation owned by the Oneida Tribe of Indians has begun construction of a waste-to-energy facility in Green Bay, WI that it hopes will process 150 tons of municipal waste per day and generate enough electricity (6.4 megawatts) to power 3,000 homes. Groundwork has begun on a 70,000-square-foot building on reservation land that will house the facility which is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2011. The company called Oneida Seven Generations is currently negotiating with Brown County to lock in a waste stream that will feed the plant which will employ pyrolytic gasification to convert the waste into a syngas that can be burned to generate electricity. The facility is being built by Alliance Construction and Design of De Pere, WI, which claims it will be the first company in the country to design and build a fully enclosed gasification system of this type...Read More »



Stericycle Posts 22% Gain in 3Q Profit, Helped by Acquisition

Medical waste services company Stericycle, Inc. (Lake Forest, IL) said third quarter profit and revenue rose 22 percent helped by acquisition related gains. Net income rose to $56.7 million or $0.65 per share from $46.5 million or $0.54 per share last year. Revenue rose to $363.0 million from $297.8 million in the same quarter last year, helped by a $29.2 million contribution from an acquisition less than 12 months old. When compared sequentially, revenues were up 4.4 percent. The company signed a deal in September to buy Healthcare Waste Solutions, Inc. (HWS) for about $245 million in cash. HWS is a portfolio company of Altaris Capital Partners, LLC that also provides resource management and waste consulting services to healthcare providers...Read More »



Enerkem Meets Environmental Requirements for its Miss. Waste-to-Ethanol Plant

Enerkem Corp. announced the completion of its U.S. federal environmental assessment requirements for its Mississippi waste-to-ethanol plant in Pontotoc, allowing the $100 million project to move forward. Last December, Enerkem received $50 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for its Pontotoc biorefinery project, a condition of which was to fulfill National Environmental Policy Act requirements. Following the assessment, DOE issued a "Finding of No Significant Impact," or FONSI which effectively allows the project to proceed. The Pontotoc plant will be Enerkem's second commercial biorefinery. In August, the company broke ground on its first full-scale commercial advanced biofuels plant in Edmonton, AB. Construction on the Pontotoc facility is expected to begin early next year and take about 18 months. Once completed, it will convert about 190,000 tons of unsorted municipal solid waste from the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority to produce about 10 million gallons of ethanol and "green chemicals" annually. Last February, Enerkem raised $51.5 million from a syndicate of investors that includes waste industry giant Waste Management, Inc...Read More »



WCA Waste Posts 3Q Loss Despite 20% Gain in Revenue

WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) posted a net loss for the third quarter despite a 19.6% gain in revenue for the period. Two out of four recently completed "tuck-in" acquisitions contributed $7 million or about two-thirds of that growth. However, costs of services, including higher interest rates and less income from interest rate swaps led to an increased net loss of $355,000, or ($0.02) per share, compared to a net loss of $250,000, or ($0.02) per share in last year's third quarter. Revenue for the quarter increased to $59.3 million from 49.5 million last year. "We are very pleased by the strength of core solid waste pricing in the small container and MSW landfill markets," said Tom Fatjo, chairman and CEO of WCA Waste. "Our focus remains on driving growth in our Houston and Ohio markets and maximizing the operating leverage of these assets while creating value for shareholders."...Read More »



Oshkosh Corp. Reports 15% Jump in Fiscal 4Q Sales of Refuse Vehicles

Specialty vehicle maker Oshkosh Corp. (Oshkosh, WI) posted fiscal fourth quarter sales growth of 43 percent, largely driven by sales of military equipment, but also helped by a 15% increase in the sales of refuse collection vehicles as a result of an improved mix and higher unit volumes. Its commercial segment, that includes refuse vehicles, had increased sales of 24.8% to $162.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with the prior year quarter. Total revenues for the fourth quarter were $2.11 billion and income from continuing operations was $116.6 million, or $1.28 per share, compared with net sales of $1.47 billion and income from continuing operations of $45.7 million for the year-ago quarter...Read More »



Rentech and ClearFuels' Bio-Refinery to Get Full Funding

ClearFuels Technology, Inc. and Rentech, Inc., which are building a waste to fuels demonstration plant in Colorado, jointly announced a cooperative deal with the U.S. Department of Energy to get the remaining $19.7 million of a $23 million grant to complete construction of the gasifier portion of the facility. The company said the award was granted upon successful completion of Budget Period 1 tasks initiated last April. Accordingly, the grant will facilitate the integration of ClearFuels' flexible and versatile biomass to synthesis gas technology with Rentech's Fisher-Tropsch Process, with the aim of demonstrating efficient, cost-effective production of certified, renewable diesel and jet fuels from clean biomass at Rentech's Product Demonstration Unit in Commerce City, Colorado...Read More »


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