Republic Services Inc.

Formerly an operating division of Republic Industries Inc., Republic Services, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., went public on July 1, 1998.

Based on annualized revenues of $1.4 billion at the time of the initial public offering, Republic ranked as the fourth-largest waste management company in the United States.

Republic Services continues to grow through an aggressive approach to acquisitions. Between April 1998 and September 1998, Republic Services bought 48 solid waste companies with combined annualized revenues of $80 million.

The run rate of acquisitions made during 1998 is expected to top $200 million, according to Tod C. Holmes, Republic Services' senior vice president and chief financial officer.

At the end of September 1998, the company served 3.2 million commercial, industrial and residential customers through 96 collection companies, 42 landfills and 54 transfer stations.

Republic's acquisition strategy has focused on high growth markets in the sunbelt, with the objective of gaining customers that generate waste first. This has led to an internalization rate of 41 percent, which the company hopes to raise going forward.

"Our focus is shifting," Holmes says. "We're now concentrating on increasing our integration and internalization by building around our own landfills in existing markets."

The recent signing of a deal to purchase divested Waste Management Inc. (Houston) assets promises to add 16 landfills, 11 transfer stations and 136 collection routes to the Republic portfolio.

"We're also interested in stepping out into some new markets," Holmes says, "but those new markets would be fully integrated and provide a platform for tuck-ins."

Following the traditional philosophy of H. Wayne Huizenga, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Republic Industries Inc., Republic Services funds company acquisitions with cash instead of stock, the more common industry practice.

"I think we're unique in this," Holmes says. "With the volatility in the stock market today, cash as opposed to stock transactions has become very attractive to sellers."