Waste Management Tops Earnings, Sales Estimates for Fourth Quarter

For 2021, Waste Management expects total revenue growth of between 10.75% and 11.25%.
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Shares of Waste Management  (WM) - Get Report were down slightly in morning trading Thursday despite the waste disposal company reporting earnings and revenue ahead of analyst expectations. 

The Houston, Texas-based company reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.13 per share on revenue of $4.07 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.11 per share on revenue of $3.98 billion. 

"Our focus on operational execution and efficiency allowed us to match the highest full-year adjusted operating EBITDA margin we have ever achieved at 28.4%," said CEO Jim Fish. "So, in a year where many companies suffered significant financial impacts from the pandemic and resulting economic crisis, Waste Management delivered full-year 2020 results within 1.5% of our record-high 2019 adjusted operating EBITDA."

Waste Management shares were down 0.2% to $112.00 at last check Thursday morning. 

The company temporarily suspended price increases and certain fees for customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 leading to what it called "muted" pricing results. 

Operating expenses rose year-over-year to 61.5% of revenue from 60.2% in 2019. 

For 2021, Waste Management expects total revenue growth between 10.75% and 11.25%. The company also expects synergies from its completed acquisition of fellow waste disposal company Advanced Disposal to total between $50 million and $60 million. 

Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $4.75 billion and $4.9 billion, up from $4.1 billion in 2020. Free cash flow is expected to range between $2.25 billon and $2.35 billion, down from $2.66 billion in 2020. 

"In 2020, we quickly and successfully learned to operate our business with a lower cost structure while maintaining our focus on exceptional customer service," Fish said. "In 2021, we will continue to make investments in technology that transform our business and integrate the Advanced Disposal business, and we are well-positioned to generate strong returns."

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