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Casella Boasts Strong First Quarter

During the first quarter, Rutland, Vt.-based Casella Waste Systems Inc. saw a 7.6 percent rise in revenues and a 33.1 percent gain in adjusted EBITDA year-over-year. However, the company posted a net loss for the quarter of $7.6 million, although that represented a $400,000 increase from the same quarter a year ago.

Here are some highlights from the results:

  • Revenues were $125.4 million for the quarter, up $8.9 million from the same period in 2015.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $19.3 million for the quarter, up $4.8 million, from the same period in 2015.
  • The company posted a net loss of $7.6 million, an improvement of $400,000 million from the same period in 2015.
  • Operating income was $2.0 million for the quarter, down $1.1 million from the same period in 2015, whereas adjusted operating Income was $2.0 million for the quarter, up $3.8 million from the same period in 2015. The current quarter did not include any adjustments, while the same period in 2015 included a $4.9 million gain related to the dissolution of CARES and a reversal of excess costs related to the Maine Energy divestiture.
  • Overall solid waste pricing for the quarter was up 4.7 percent, mainly driven by strong collection pricing up 6.7 percent.
  • Free cash flow was ($8.3) million in the quarter, as compared to ($7.5) million for the same period in 2015. Normalized free cash flow was down $8.3 million in the quarter, up $2.0 million from the same period in 2015.
  • The company reaffirmed its 2016 guidance for the year ending December 31, 2016 by estimating results in the following ranges revenues between $550 million and $560 million; adjusted EBITDA between $111 million and $115 million; and free cash flow between $20 million and $24 million.

"Our solid results in the first quarter were driven by continued execution against our key management strategies, a mild winter in the Northeast, and selective strengthening of the regional economy," Casella Chairman and CEO John W. Casella said in a statement. "I am very pleased with our financial and operational performance during the quarter, and I believe that we are well positioned to continue to execute in fiscal year 2016 and beyond."

"We continued to expand Adjusted Operating Income margins in the quarter, up roughly 310 bps year-over-year, as our strong pricing and operating efficiency programs enabled us to outpace inflation during the period," Casella said. "Our efforts to drive pricing in the collection and disposal lines-of-business continued to gain strength through the first quarter. Overall solid waste pricing was up 4.7 percent, with particular strength in the collection line-of-business, where we experienced our highest pricing growth in over 10 years at 6.7 percent. Adding to this success, we advanced disposal pricing 2.8 percent in ourEastern Region as we further capitalized on the tightening disposal markets across this market area. These strong pricing gains were complemented by improvements from our operating efficiency programs with our fleet and routing programs driving lower costs."

"We continued to expand Adjusted Operating Income margins in the quarter, up roughly 310 bps year-over-year, as our strong pricing and operating efficiency programs enabled us to outpace inflation during the period," Casella said. "Our efforts to drive pricing in the collection and disposal lines-of-business continued to gain strength through the first quarter. Overall solid waste pricing was up 4.7 percent, with particular strength in the collection line-of-business, where we experienced our highest pricing growth in over 10 years at 6.7 percent. Adding to this success, we advanced disposal pricing 2.8 percent in our Eastern Region as we further capitalized on the tightening disposal markets across this market area. These strong pricing gains were complemented by improvements from our operating efficiency programs with our fleet and routing programs driving lower costs."

"Beyond our strategic execution, our results during the quarter benefited from a mild winter as compared to the historically snowy and cold winter that we experienced in the first quarter of 2015," Casella said. "It is too early in the year to estimate how much of the typical spring ramp-up was pulled forward into the winter months versus the benefits from the tightening disposal markets and economic growth in the Northeast. During the first quarter, our landfill volumes were up 152,000 tons year-over-year, or up 19.7 percent, with over 55 percent of this growth coming from higher construction & demolition volumes across most of our market areas. These strong trends have begun to moderate into the second quarter."

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