Revenue Grows 8.3%, Producing Strong Net Income and Cash Flow
Earnings Per Diluted Share Grows More Than 15%
HOUSTON — April 26, 2017— Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) today announced financial results for its quarter ended March 31, 2017. Revenues for the first quarter of 2017 were $3.44 billion compared with $3.18 billion for the same 2016 period. Net income for the quarter was $298 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, compared with $258 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2016.(a) On an as-adjusted basis, excluding certain items, net income was $291 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2017.(b)
The Company’s as-adjusted first quarter 2017 results exclude a $0.07 per diluted share tax benefit related to equity-based compensation and a non-cash charge of $0.06 per diluted share related to the impairment of an equity investment in a waste diversion technology company.
Jim Fish, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waste Management, commented, “We are pleased with our strong first quarter results, as we met or exceeded all of our internal targets. On an as-adjusted basis, we saw earnings growth of almost 14%.(b) Operating EBITDA grew 8.0% due to strength in both our traditional solid waste business and our recycling business, which in turn drove strong first quarter cash flows.(c) This performance led to us exceeding our internal targets for operating EBITDA and free cash flow.”(b)
KEY HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER 2017
• Overall revenue increased by 8.3%, or $264 million. The revenue increase was driven by positive yield and volume in the Company’s collection and disposal business, which contributed $113 million to revenue growth, and significantly higher recycling commodity prices, which contributed $111 million of revenue growth.
• Core price, which consists of price increases net of rollbacks, plus fees other than the Company’s fuel surcharge, was 5.1%.(d)
• Internal revenue growth from yield for collection and disposal operations was 2.0%.
• For both the total Company and the traditional solid waste business, internal revenue growth from volume was positive 1.9% in the first quarter of 2017, or 1.4% after adjusting for one additional workday in the current quarter.
• Average recycling commodity prices at the Company’s recycling facilities were almost 70% higher in the first quarter of 2017 than in the prior year period. Results in the Company’s recycling line of business improved by $0.066 per diluted share when compared to the prior year period.
• As a percent of revenue, operating expenses were 63.0% in the first quarter of 2017, as compared to 62.8% in the first quarter of 2016. Increased recycling commodity rebates and fuel costs drove the increase in operating expenses as a percent of revenue. Fuel costs were a negative $0.02 per diluted share when compared to the prior year period.
• As a percent of revenue, SG&A expenses were 11.3% in the first quarter of 2017, which is a 10 basis point improvement when compared to the first quarter of 2016. First quarter 2017 SG&A expenses include a negative $0.02 per diluted share impact related to executive severance.
• Net cash provided by operating activities was $721 million, compared to $732 million in the first quarter of 2016. The first quarter of 2016 included a $67 million benefit from terminating a cross-currency hedge.
• Capital expenditures were $332 million, an increase of $15 million compared to 2016.
• Free cash flow was $396 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $428 million in the first quarter of 2016.(b)
• The Company returned $194 million to shareholders during the first quarter in dividends.
• The effective tax rate was approximately 31.7%. Adjusting for the items noted in the Company’s as-adjusted earnings, the tax rate would have been approximately 36.8%.(b)
Fish concluded, “Our strong start to 2017 gives us early confidence that we are on track to meet our full-year 2017 guidance of adjusted earnings per diluted share of between $3.14 and $3.18 and free cash flow of between $1.5 and $1.6 billion. (b) As in previous years, we will wait to see the extent of the anticipated seasonal upturn in our business before reevaluating our guidance. Our employees have continued to deliver strong performance, and the first quarter sets us up for another successful year.”
(a) For purposes of this press release, all references to “Net income” refer to the financial statement line items “Net income attributable to Waste Management, Inc.”.
(b) This press release contains a discussion of non-GAAP measures, as defined in Regulation G of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The Company reports its financial results in compliance with GAAP, but believes that also discussing non-GAAP measures provides investors with (i) additional, meaningful comparisons of current results to prior periods’ results by excluding items that the Company does not believe reflect its fundamental business performance and are not representative or indicative of its results of operations and (ii) financial measures the Company uses in the management of its business. Accordingly, net income, earnings per diluted share, earnings growth, and the effective tax rate for the first quarter of 2017 have been presented in certain instances excluding items identified in the reconciliations provided.
The Company’s projected full-year 2017 earnings per diluted share is not based on GAAP net earnings per diluted share and are anticipated to be adjusted to exclude the effects of events or circumstances in 2017 that are not representative or indicative of the Company’s results of operations, including the items excluded from our as-adjusted first quarter results. Projected GAAP earnings per diluted share for the full year would require inclusion of the projected impact of future excluded items, including items that are not currently determinable, but may be significant, such as asset impairments and one-time items, charges, gains or losses from divestitures or litigation, or other items. Due to the uncertainty of the likelihood, amount and timing of any such items, the Company does not have information available to provide a quantitative reconciliation of adjusted projected full year earnings per diluted share to a GAAP earnings per diluted share projection.
The Company also discusses free cash flow and provides a projection of free cash flow. Free cash flow is a non-GAAP measure. The Company discusses free cash flow because the Company believes that it is indicative of its ability to pay its quarterly dividends, repurchase common stock, fund acquisitions and other investments and, in the absence of refinancings, to repay its debt obligations. Free cash flow is not intended to replace “Net cash provided by operating activities,” which is the most comparable U.S. GAAP measure. However, the Company believes free cash flow gives investors useful insight into how the Company views its liquidity. Nevertheless, the use of free cash flow as a liquidity measure has material limitations because it excludes certain expenditures that are required or that the Company has committed to, such as declared dividend payments and debt service requirements. The Company defines free cash flow as net cash provided by operating activities, less capital expenditures, plus proceeds from divestitures of businesses and other assets (net of cash divested); this definition may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.
The quantitative reconciliations of non-GAAP measures used herein to the most comparable GAAP measures are included in the accompanying schedules, with the exception of projected earnings per diluted share. Non-GAAP measures should not be considered a substitute for financial measures presented in accordance with GAAP, and investors are urged to take into account GAAP measures as well as non-GAAP measures in evaluating the Company.
(c) Management defines operating EBITDA as GAAP income from operations before depreciation and amortization; this measure may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.
(d) Core price is a performance metric used by management to evaluate the effectiveness of the Company’s pricing strategies; it is not derived from the Company’s financial statements and may not be comparable to measures presented by other companies. Core price is based on certain historical assumptions, which may differ from actual results, to allow for comparability between reporting periods and to reveal trends in results over time.
The Company will host a conference call at 10:00 AM (Eastern) today to discuss the first quarter 2017 results. Information contained within this press release will be referenced and should be considered in conjunction with the call.
The conference call will be webcast live from the Investor Relations section of Waste Management’s website www.wm.com. To access the conference call by telephone, please dial (877) 710-6139 approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call. If you are calling from outside of the United States or Canada, please dial (706) 643-7398. Please utilize conference ID number 94449507 when prompted by the conference call operator.
A replay of the conference call will be available on the Company’s website www.wm.com and by telephone from approximately 1:00 PM (Eastern) Wednesday, April 26, 2017 through 5:00 PM (Eastern) on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. To access the replay telephonically, please dial (855) 859-2056, or from outside of the United States or Canada dial (404) 537-3406, and use the replay conference ID number 94449507.
The Company, from time to time, provides estimates of financial and other data, comments on expectations relating to future periods and makes statements of opinion, view or belief about current and future events. This press release contains a number of such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements regarding 2017 earnings per diluted share; 2017 free cash flow; and all statements regarding future business performance and growth. You should view these statements with caution. They are based on the facts and circumstances known to the Company as of the date the statements are made. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from those set forth in such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, increased competition; pricing actions; failure to implement our optimization, growth, and cost savings initiatives and overall business strategy; failure to identify acquisition targets and negotiate attractive terms; failure to consummate or integrate such acquisitions; failure to obtain the results anticipated from acquisitions; environmental and other regulations; commodity price fluctuations; disposal alternatives and waste diversion; declining waste volumes; failure to develop and protect new technology; significant environmental or other incidents resulting in liabilities and brand damage; weakness in economic conditions; failure to obtain and maintain necessary permits; labor disruptions; impairment charges; and exposure to litigation and governmental proceedings. Please also see the Company’s filings with the SEC, including Part I, Item 1A of the Company’s most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K, for additional information regarding these and other risks and uncertainties applicable to our business. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, including financial estimates and forecasts, whether as a result of future events, circumstances or developments or otherwise.
ABOUT WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more information about Waste Management, visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com.
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Source: Waste Management, Inc.
Ed Egl, 713.265.1656
Toni Beck, 713.394.5093