Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 1-7, 2011


Waste Management Q3 Income Up 11.5% on Acquisitions and Pricing

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) reported 11 percent higher third quarter profit on revenue that was up by 9 percent on acquisitions, pricing discipline, and higher recycled commodities prices and volumes. Revenue rose to $3.52 billion from $3.24 billion in the same period last year. $106 million of the increase came from the company's recent acquisition of Oakleaf Global Holdings last July. Average recycling commodity prices increased about 29 percent in the quarter from last year, while recycling volumes rose 8 percent organically and 14 percent including acquisitions. However, landfill disposal volumes declined 1.6 percent. Third quarter net income rose to $272 million or $0.58 per share, up from $244 million or $0.51 per share in the year-ago period. Adjusting for one-time items including acquisition charges, net income would have been $295 million or $0.63 per share from $264 million or $0.55 per share a year ago.

"We are happy with our progress in the quarter, which resulted in expansion of both our revenue and net income year-over-year," said David Steiner, chief executive officer. "Our revenue grew for the seventh consecutive quarter and our net income grew more than 11 percent year-over-year, primarily driven by our pricing programs, higher commodity prices and recycling volumes, acquisitions and fuel surcharges. In addition, we saw a $28 million benefit from our cost reduction initiatives." Steiner concluded. "We continue to expect full year adjusted earnings of between $2.14 and $2.18 per diluted share, and we expect our free cash flow to be about $1.25 billion for the year."...Read More »



Republic Posts Strong Q3 on Pricing and Volume Growth

Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ), beating analyst estimates for its fourth consecutive quarter, reported substantially stronger net income and revenue in its third quarter, boosted by volume and pricing growth. Net income rose by 44 percent to $193.5 million, or $0.52 per share, compared to $134.2 million, or $0.35 per share a year ago. Excluding certain charges, net income would have $198.5 million, or $0.53 per share, up from $172.8 million or $0.45 per share in the year ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter rose by 4 percent to $2.12 billion from $2.06 billion in the same quarter last year. Republic said core prices increased 0.7 percent, fuel surcharges climbed 1.2 percent, commodities pricing advanced 1.7 percent, volume rose 0.3 percent and acquisitions/divestitures net increased 0.1 percent. Partially offsetting the revenue growth was a decrease of 1.4 percent resulting from the ending of two public sector contracts. Company president and CEO Don Slager reiterated "We remain confident that our earnings per share and free cash flow for 2011 will be in line with our guidance."...Read More »



ISRI Fights EPA Effort to Define Scrap Metal as 'Waste'

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is worried about an EPA effort to define scrap metals as solid waste that would subject them to more stringent regulation under rules defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). At issue is a 2008 EPA study that found 52 of the 223 damage cases it investigated likely correlated with an exemption at scrap metal facilities, according to environmental groups Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which used the contentious study as the main basis for their argument that scrap metal be excluded from existing exemptions and treated as waste. In a detailed comment filed by Earthjustice, the groups said the EPA study found a strong correlation between pre-2008 exemptions from RCRA and environmental damage...Read More »



California Utilities Worry Biogas Won't Qualify as Renewable

California utilities and others in industry are concerned about a proposal that would restrict the eligibility of biogas power under the state's new renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law. California is being closely watched as it has the most ambitious RPS, which requires utilities and other electric service providers to derive 33 percent of their power from renewable sources by the end of 2020, and would likely be a model for other states. The California Energy Commission (CEC), which is responsible for regulating the publicly owned utilities under the new RPS, recently proposed changes to its "Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility" guidebook, to conform to provisions of the new law, and other recently enacted laws that affect renewables. CEC said in an Oct. 21 workshop that they were "re-examining the RPS requirements for pipeline biomethane," and "may propose revisions to the biomethane section after consideration of the comments and input from technical staff." In addition, CEC is "re-examining the requirements for municipal solid waste conversion facilities." They are concerned with biomethane that is injected into the nation's natural gas pipeline in another state that then gets combusted in a California plant, and, whether gas from municipal solid waste should even by considered renewable in the first place...Read More »



EPA Delays Boiler and Incinerator Rules until November

The EPA has delayed until at least the end of November proposed changes to its boiler and incinerator emissions rules and related definition of solid waste rule while it continues to examine a torrent of data from industry, activists and states. The reconsideration is in answer to industry criticism that the final boiler air toxics rule and a related emissions standards for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI) as finalized in February are impossible to achieve. EPA stayed the rule to reconsider and examine additional industry data. At the same time, litigation over the rules is on hold in federal appeals court pending the outcome of EPA's review. The delay could extend past November since EPA has yet to submit its recommendations to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as required before issuing new or revised rules. OMB review can take up to 60 days.

Industry is urging EPA to adopt various changes in the revised boiler rule, including removing a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) requirement, allowing an alternative to the particulate matter (PM) emission limit, creating "sub-categories" of boilers subject to varying limits, and longer compliance periods for smaller "area source" boilers. For the CISWI rule, industry is pushing for sub-categorization of energy recovery units (ERUs) and also urging the agency to ease requirements for CO monitoring during periods of incinerator startup and shutdown. EPA has said it is considering revising its boiler dioxin emissions limits or replacing them with "work practice standards" in lieu of numeric emissions limits, while also revising sub-categories in the rules...Read More »



Stericycle Q3 Income and Revenue Higher, Helped by Acquisitions

Medical waste treatment company Stericycle, Inc. (Lake Forest, IL) reported third quarter revenue that increased by 16 percent on acquisitions and a strong internal growth rate of 7 percent. Net income rose to $59.2 million, or $0.68 per share, from with $56.7 million, or $0.65 per share last year. Revenue climbed to $406 million, $43.9 million of which came from acquisitions less than a year old. Management provided full year 2011 EPS guidance in the range of $2.81 to $2.82 per share and projected revenue in the range of $1.65 billion to $1.68 billion...Read More »



EPA Proposes New Rules for Underground Storage Tanks

The EPA is proposing to overhaul its 1988 underground storage tank (UST) regulations by adding new requirements for tank maintenance and spill prevention. The proposed rule, which EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed Oct. 25, would require the installation of secondary containment systems for all new and replaced tanks, including those containing petroleum, and require the installation of under-dispenser containment for all new dispenser systems. EPA says the changes are meant to address the increased fuel corrosivity due to due to increased use of biofuels and to take advantage of new leak detection technology that was not available in 1988 when the rules were first promulgated...Read More »



Plasco Negotiates Waste-to-energy Contract with Ottawa; Wins Approval for Plant

Plasco Energy Group (Ottawa, ON) said that it expects to win upwards of an $8 million per year contract with the city of Ottawa to process the city's waste through its advanced waste-to-energy facility located at the nearby Trail Road landfill. This week the company received certificates of approval (C of A) from Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for its plant which is initially approved for 85 tonnes per day and which will likely be expanded to 100 tonnes per day following a period of operation and environmental performance testing. Ottawa originally approved the facility in June 2008 following the company's successful operation of a demonstration facility that closed this year as originally scheduled by the MOE. In approving the facility, the city signed an agreement of understanding with Plasco for an $8 million annual contract to process as much as 136,000 tons per year of the city's waste (at $60 per tonne) over a 20 to 30 year period.

Three years later, the contract would likely be larger since the city's annual demand for disposal has increased to 190,000 tonnes (currently going to the landfill) and tipping fees there have increased to $96 per tonne...Read More »



WCA Waste Revenue Higher on Volume; Net Loss Higher on Charge

WCA Waste Corp. reported a significant 25.5 percent gain in third quarter revenue resulting from price increases and a 3 percent increase in volume. Third quarter revenue rose to $74.4 million from $59.3 million last year. The company posted a slightly higher loss for the period largely as a result of charge taken for the early extinguishment of $49 million of debt during the quarter. The company said it lost $669,000, or $0.03 per share compared to a loss of $335,000, or $0.02 per share in last year's third quarter. Adjusting for the $1.7 million write-off in July, the net loss was $0.02 per share compared to a net loss of $0.01 in 2010. "The third quarter revenue and earnings growth is a strong indication of the underlying strength of WCA´s operations," CEO Tom Fatjo Jr. said in a statement. "Internal growth of 4.7% reflects a renewed growth trend for the industry."...Read More »



Akron Landfill Gas-to-Energy to Power Sewage Treatment Plant

Under a deal with a private developer, the City of Akron, Ohio will get 30% of the power it needs to operate its sewage treatment plant from a landfill gas-to-energy project. A local company Hull & Associates is developing the project after having purchased the rights to the gas from the nearby Hardy Road Landfill that closed in 2002. The city will purchase electricity produced by the 850-kilowatt project under a long-term contract and own the rights to any excess landfill gas. The city is also investing $32 million to expand the anaerobic digester at its composting facility, which could ultimately provide another 60 percent of the power needed by the treatment plant...Read More »



US Ecology Q3 Revenue Up by 53%, Helped by Acquisition

US Ecology, Inc. (Boise, ID) reported third quarter net income that declined slightly despite a big jump in revenue. Revenue for the third quarter jumped by 53% to $39.7 million, up from $26 million in the same quarter last year. The company's acquisition of Stablex Canada Inc. in Oct. 2010 added $9.4 million to revenue. Net income declined to $3.7 million, or $0.20 per share from $3.9 million or $0.22 per share in the year ago quarter. The latest quarter included $3.8 million, or roughly $0.13 per share, of pre-tax, non-cash loss on foreign currency translation. Excluding the non-cash foreign currency loss, adjusted earnings per share for the latest quarter were $0.33. The company increased its full year 2011 earnings estimate from $0.82-$0.90 to $0.90-$0.95 per share, excluding impact from foreign currency gains or losses.

US Ecology provides radioactive, hazardous, and non-hazardous industrial waste management and recycling services to commercial and government entities...Read More »



Covanta Energy Combines Services to Create New Subsidiary

Covanta Energy, a subsidiary of Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) announced that it has merged its two merchant services subsidiaries into a new business called Covanta 4Recovery. The company said the combination of Covanta Secure Services and TransRiver Marketing Co will allow it to better respond to growing demand for sustainability solutions. Among the services provided by Covanta 4Recovery (the fourth R in the hierarchy after Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) are waste procurement and logistics, environmental services, waste customer support and metals recycling...Read More »


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