Weekly News Bulletin: Jul. 24-30, 2012


Waste Connections 2Q down on Expenses and Lower Recycled Commodities

Waste Connections, Inc. (The Woodlands, TX) said second quarter earnings were hurt by acquisition and relocation expenses amid a tepid economy and lower recycled commodity prices. Net income for the quarter fell slightly to $42.4 million from $44.4 million a year ago. However, adjusted for one-time acquisition and relocation costs, net income was $44.4 million, or $0.36 per share compared with adjusted net income of $44.8 million, or $0.39 per share in the same period last year. Revenue grew by 5.3 percent exceeding expectations to $410.7 million primarily on core price growth of 3 percent and new acquisitions. These gains offset a 2.2 percent drop in volumes and a 1 percent decline in recycling revenue. Chairman and CEO Ron Mittelstaedt attributed the lower volumes to three factors: the decision to turn away lower price volumes at the Chiquita Canyon landfill, tougher year-over-year comps for special waste jobs, and increasing competitiveness within our more urban-like markets of Denver and Houston.

The company also announced that it bought SKB Environmental, a landfill and hauling company with about $30 million in annual revenue which serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and surrounding markets...Read More »



Progressive Waste 2Q Profit Falls on Lower Recycling Prices

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) said second quarter earnings fell despite slightly higher revenues as a result of lower recycled commodity prices and adverse foreign currency exchange effects. Net income fell to $28.4 million, or $0.24 per share, for the second quarter from $36.6 million, or $0.30 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $475.4 million. The company said it lost $6.4 million in revenue on lower recycled commodity prices. Revenue for the year is still expected to be $1.88 billion with net income of about $1.10 per share...Read More »



EPA to Review Landfill Air Standards

The EPA filed a proposed consent decree to establish legal deadlines to review whether its outdated new source performance standards (NSPS) for municipal solid waste landfills are still effective. Under the decree, EPA says it will determine by May 1, 2013, whether to update the municipal solid waste landfill NSPS, last revised in 1996, and, if merited, issue a final rule by May 1, 2014. It would resolve a lawsuit brought last year by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), represented by Earthjustice against EPA (EDF v. Jackson) over the agency's failure to update the standard as required every eight years under the Clean Air Act. EDF in October of 2008 filed a notice-of-intent-to-sue EPA over its failure to update the 1996 landfill NSPS, where it laid out a detailed case for why the agency should include methane limits, saying that landfills regulated by the current NSPS are significant sources of methane, accounting for 22.6 percent of all domestic methane emissions in 2006. The review could alsocall into question whether the agency should adopt first-time limits on landfill greenhouse gas (GHG) methane...Read More »



S&P Remains Cautious about Waste Industry

Investor ratings agency Standard & Poor's maintains a neutral outlook for the waste management industry based on the competitive pricing environment amid the uncertain, albeit slowly improving economy. Residential volumes are expected to remain weak while industrial volumes will slowly recover more so in some markets than in others. Recycling prices should improve modestly later this year. Companies' continued use of hedging programs and fuel surcharges to offset rising costs will ensure strong cash flow that should drive share repurchases, raised dividends, debt reduction and strategic acquisitions.

Haulers are also expected to continue to refine their operations by divesting underperforming assets and by acquiring accretive "tuck-in" operations, especially hauling operations that can drive volume to existing landfills, which tend to have higher margins. Smaller players discouraged by the soft environment may be more receptive to an acquirer who, in turn, is attracted by lower selling prices. However, the recent Veolia deal indicates that private equity firms are beginning to show more interest again...Read More »



California Report Supports Exempting Waste-to-Energy from Cap & Trade

A new report by California's waste department shows that waste-to-energy plants appear to have a smaller carbon footprint than previously thought and indicates that methane emission leaks at landfills may be greater than originally thought. The report "waste-to-energy and avoided landfill methane emissions" could determine whether the state's air resources board includes waste-to-energy facilities in the state's greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program and whether project operators would have to buy costly GHG allowances to comply under the system.

The report concludes that waste-to-energy facilities provide net avoided methane emissions compared with waste otherwise disposed in a California landfill. It also finds that the average methane control efficiency of California landfills is 62%, which is based on "theoretical maximum methane generation." Environmentalists in the state have traditionally opposed waste-to-energy, including other conversion technologies for fear that they could create localized air pollution problems and threaten the viability of recycling programs...Read More »



Harvest Power Raises More Capital to Finance Rapid Expansion

Harvest Power (Waltham, MA), a developer of technology for recycling organic waste materials into soils, fertilizer, energy, and engineered fuels, has raised an additional $15 million in financing bringing its total Series C capital-raise to $125 million. The company is accelerating the development of its organics recovery and conversion plants in response to communities increasingly interested in developing food waste and organics programs...Read More »



Upper East Siders in Manhattan will Share Waste Burden

A controversial New York City waste transfer station proposed for the Upper East Side of Manhattan has won final regulatory approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, despite strident local opposition. Cas Holloway, the city's deputy mayor for operations, said he expects the $240 million station will help double the city's recycling rate once operational in 2015. It also ensures, according to Holloway, "that every borough bears some responsibility for handling its own waste," an essential component of the city's 20-year solid waste plan approved in 2006. The city currently generates an estimated 50,000 tons of waste per day. Among other things, the plan seeks to boost recycling and reduce the number of garbage trucks on the road by reopening marine waste terminals throughout the city. Waste that cannot be recycled is aggregated at a rail-served transfer station on Staten Island where it is loaded into rail cars and shipped to landfills down the eastern seaboard...Read More »



New Jersey Police Bag Cardboard Thieves

New Jersey police, working the New York City Business Integrity Commission, arrested three perpetrators of a large-scale recycling theft operation that netted more than $100,000 by stealing crushed and baled cardboard boxes from Walmart and Sam's Club stores. The high value of cardboard (OCC), which has been over $130 per ton, makes it an attractive target. The gang used spotters to locate cardboard bundles awaiting pickup by contracted haulers and send their own trucks to pick up the bales instead. Since May the operation stole about 900 tons of cardboard worth well over $100,000. Industry officials with the National Solid Wastes Management Association said that its members in New York City are losing $8-10 million per year due to cardboard theft...Read More »



INEOS Completes Construction of Florida Waste-to-Fuel Biorefinery

INEOS New Plant Energy LLC (Vero Beach, FL) has completed constructing its $130 million biorefinery in Indian River County, FL that will produce 8 million gallons per year of ethanol and generate 6 MW of renewable power from local organic and household wastes once it begins production later this year. The project, which received a $75 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture in January 2011, will be the first commercial-scale facility in the US that will make advanced biofuels using INEOS Bio's gasification and fermentation technology. It employs naturally existing bacteria to convert gases released directly from biomass (syngas) into bioethanol. INEOS New Planet BioEnergy is a joint venture between New Planet Energy and INEOS Bio...Read More »



TransLoad America Files for Bankruptcy

Innovative waste-by-rail company TransLoad America Inc. (South Orange, NJ) filed bankruptcy last month following years of unfulfilled promise. The company acquired the 1,400-acre Central Waste Inc. landfill in Smith Township, Ohio in 2006 with plans to bring in shrink-wrapped baled waste via rail cars originating from the northeast. $45 million in revenue bonds issued by the Western Reserve Port Authority and Mahoning county, Ohio, allowed Transload to borrow at relatively low interest. However, delays in infrastructure improvements needed to get the waste there, regulatory hurdles and the tepid economy prevented them from accepting much more than 1,200 tons per day, far short of their dream to import more than 3,000 tons per day from elsewhere. The landfilled stopped operating once the company filed for Chapter 7 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on June 13...Read More »



Warren County, NJ to Install Solar Panels atop Landfill

Officials with the Warren County's Pollution Control Financing Authority say that a 7-acre solar panel project atop its landfill will save the authority $91,000 on electricity costs in its first year. Construction could begin next week and be complete by the end of the year. It is expected to cost between $3 million and $5 million and will be paid for entirely by federal and state grants obtained by Energenic, the project developer...Read More »



Clean Harbors to Report Second Quarter on Aug. 8

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) plans to announce second quarter earnings during a company-hosted conference call on Wednesday, August 8 at 9 a.m. (Eastern)...Read More »


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