Waste Management Inc. reported much stronger net earnings for its fourth quarter and year.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Houston-based Waste Management posted net profits of $590 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $605 million, or a negative $1.29 per diluted share, in the year-ago period. In 2013 the company’s results were hurt by its waste-to-energy and recycling business operations.
Revenue for the fourth period fell 1.7 percent to $3.44 billion from $3.5 billion in 2013, according to a news release.
For the year, net income jumped to nearly $1.3 billion, or $2.79 per diluted share, compared with $98 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, a year ago. Revenue rose 0.1 percent to $14 billion from $13.98 billion.
“We built strong momentum during the first three quarters of 2014, and that momentum continued into the fourth quarter. Our strong pricing and cost controls delivered growth in our traditional solid waste business,” said David Steiner, Waste Management president and CEO. “In looking at the full year, we are very pleased with our overall operating results.”
Recycling commodity prices had a negative impact of 3 cents per diluted share on the fourth quarter, but they were more than offset by operational improvement benefits in the recycling business, the company said.
During the year the company completed the divestiture of its Wheelabrator waste-to-energy assets and solid waste operations in Puerto Rico and eastern Canada. In 2015 the company expects to acquire assets that will replace most, if not all, of those divested assets’ earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
For its 2015 financial outlook, Waste Management expects earnings per diluted share of between $2.48 and $2.55; internal revenue growth from yield on collection and disposal of about 2 percent; and a negative 3 cents to 5 cents per diluted share on recycling, as commodity price declines will exceed operations improvements. “So, 2015 will be a transition year in which we continue our pricing and cost efforts while focusing on redeploying the Wheelabrator proceeds,” Steiner concluded. “In our solid waste business, we have targeted about 10-percent earnings growth in 2015.”