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Waste Management 1Q Falls, Hurt By Recycling

STEPHEN SINGER

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) ¿ Waste Management Inc., the nation's largest garbage collector, said Wednesday its first-quarter profit fell 36 percent on restructuring and other costs and as the recession cut prices of recycled goods.

The Houston-based company said in February it expected a weak first quarter. With building activity down sharply, less construction trash is carted from work sites. And as people shop and eat out less, restaurants and small businesses are generating less garbage, requiring fewer trash pickups. Meanwhile, declining markets for recycled materials hit Waste Management particularly hard.

Waste Management posted net income of $155 million, or 31 cents per share, down from $241 million, or 48 cents, in the first quarter of 2008.

For the quarter ended March 31, revenue fell 14 percent to $2.81 billion, compared with $3.27 billion for the period in 2008.

Excluding charges of $53 million, or 11 cents per share, for restructuring and dropping the use of SAP software, earnings would have been 42 cents per share, edging past analysts' average expectations of 41 cents per share.

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