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Waste Management Sees Weak 1Q, With Trash Down

HOUSTON (AP) ¿ Waste Management Inc., the nation's No. 1 waste hauler, reports earnings for the first quarter before the market opens Wednesday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: The Houston-based company expects a weak first quarter. With building activity down sharply, construction companies are carting off less trash from work sites. And as people shop and eat out less, restaurants and small businesses are generating less garbage, requiring fewer trash pickups. Waste Management's recycling business is also taking a hit as prices for paper, newsprint, metals and other recycled materials fall with demand.

The company is responding by cutting costs. A restructuring plan intended to save more than $100 million a year will consolidate operations, delay merit-based pay for hourly workers until June 30 and eliminate salary increases for some employees this year until the economy improves.

Waste Management also is keeping its prices up as trash volumes fall.

BY THE NUMBERS. Analysts expect earnings of 41 cents per share on revenue of $2.98 billion for the quarter. That would be down from 48 cents per share on revenue of $3.27 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

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