Republic Services (RSG)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 26, 2012 5:00 pm ET


Edward A. Lang - Senior Vice President of Treasury and Risk Management

Donald W. Slager - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Tod C. Holmes - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President


Scott J. Levine - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Corey Greendale - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

Vance Edelson - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Michael E. Hoffman - Wunderlich Securities Inc., Research Division

William H. Fisher - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Albert Leo Kaschalk - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division



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Good afternoon, and welcome to the First Quarter 2012 Call for Investors in Republic Services. Republic Services is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RSG. Your host for today's call are Don Slager, President and CEO; Tod Holmes, CFO; and Ed Lang, Republic's Senior Vice President and Treasurer. Today's call is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] It is now my pleasure to turn the call over to Mr. Lang. Good afternoon, Mr. Lang.

Edward A. Lang

Thank you, Gabby. Welcome, good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. This is Ed Lang and I would like to welcome everyone to Republic Services' first quarter 2012 conference call. Don Slager, our CEO; and Tod Holmes, our CFO, are joining me as we discuss our first quarter performance.

Before we get started, I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that some of the information that we discuss on today's call contains forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties and may be materially different from actual results. Our SEC filings discuss factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations.

Additionally, the material that we discuss today is time-sensitive. If in the future you listen to a rebroadcast or recording of this conference call, you should be sensitive to the date of the original call, which is April 26, 2012. Please note that this call is the property of Republic Services, Inc. Any redistribution, retransmission or rebroadcast of this call in any form without the expressed written consent of Republic Services is strictly prohibited.

With that, I would like to turn the call over to Don.

Donald W. Slager

Thanks, Ed. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us as we discuss Republic Services' first quarter performance. Before we get started, I want to acknowledge Tod Holmes' announcement regarding his plan to retire next year. First, I want to say that everyone at Republic has great respect for Tod and we also respect his decision. Fortunately, he has given us a full year to work a smooth transition. Secondly, Tod has built an incredibly capable and talented financial team here at Republic, inclusive of solid financial processes, sound controls, and of course, a strong balance sheet. Tod has been one of the primary architects of the company's success, fostering and establishing a lasting culture that is firmly committed to creating cash value for our owners, with steadfast management, focusing on return on investment with a balanced approach to cash utilization. Additionally, besides his 15 years of service to Republic and the countless contributions he has made along the way, he has certainly been an invaluable adviser to me in the past 1.5 years. We will save all of our goodbyes and our thank yous for next year as Tod will be with us for a while, and we have plenty of work to do together before we host his retirement party. I'll ask Tod to share his thoughts with you.

Tod C. Holmes

Thanks, Don. As Don said, I've announced my retirement. It's effective May 1, 2013. But it's a pretty simple story here. I turn 65 years old in 2013, and have always planned on retiring then. As part of my contract, I'm required to give the company a 1-year notice prior to my actual retirement. Therefore, I informed Don and the board of my decision at this week's board meeting. I do want to stress to everyone that I'm fully committed to my job here at Republic. We've got a great team, as Don indicated here, and I'm committed to serving Republic over the next 12 months. Don and I, along with, obviously, the board's input, will be working together to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. So with that, we'll go ahead and start the call. I'll turn it back to Don.

Donald W. Slager

Thanks, Tod. I will now review our first quarter financial performance before discussing our revised guidance for 2012. Revenue of approximately $2 billion. Core price growth in the quarter was 0.6%, with positive price in both collection and disposal businesses. Disposal includes MSW landfill price of 2.6%. Volumes increased by 0.2%. Our first quarter earnings per share was $0.38. Our adjusted free cash flow was $175 million. We repurchased 1 million shares in the first quarter for $31 million. We have approximately $620 million remaining under our authorization to return to our shareholders through 2013. We remain committed to an efficient cash utilization strategy, which includes increasing cash returns to our shareholders through share repurchase and dividends. Total cash returned to the shareholders was approximately $112 million during the first quarter. Some of our operational achievements during the first quarter include: Our safety performance continues to improve with a 4% favorable reduction in our frequency rate. We have closed on $65 million of acquisitions through April that represents $40 million of annual run rate revenue. These are highly accretive transactions and we expect to achieve the upper end of our acquisition range of $100 million. We have maintained our return on investment focus when reviewing the acquisition market. We continue to invest in fleet automation and converting the fleet to CNG. During the first quarter, we converted 67 routes to automated vehicles and placed 140 CNG vehicles in service. Our 2012 truck order includes 550 CNG vehicles, which is 65% of our total fleet order. We opened our renovated single stream recycling facility in Anaheim, California, which increases our recycling capacity in that market by 50,000 tons per year.

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