Improved Pricing Helps Waste Management 4Q Results

Helped by improved prices, Waste Management (NYSE:WM) revealed a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, though its earnings still slid year-over-year.

The Houston-based company posted net income of $281 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with $315 million, or 64 cents, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 60 cents a share, beating the Street’s view of 55 cents.

Revenue for the provider of integrated waste management services in North America, including garbage collection and recycling, was $3.19 billion, up from $3.01 billion a year ago, narrowly missing average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $3.21 billion.

“We are pleased that we exceeded our expectations for the fourth quarter, driven by strong internal revenue growth from yield, which offset lower than expected volumes,” Waste Management CEO David Steiner said in a statement.

The company’s collection, landfill and recycling businesses continued to perform well during the quarter, with each of the three increasing their operating earnings and margins, according to Steiner.

Waste Management also took a hand from higher recycling commodity prices, up 36% year-over-year, partially offset by flat electricity sales prices at its waste-to-energy plants.