Covanta Holding's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Covanta Holding Corporation (CVA)

Q1 2012 Earnings Conference Call

April 19, 2012 8:30 AM ET

Executives

Anthony Orlando - President and CEO

Sanjiv Khattri - CFO

Tom Bucks - CAO

Brad Helgelson - Treasurer

Alan Katz - VP of IR

Analysts

Carter Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc

Gregg Orrill - Barclays Capital Increase

Al Kaschalk - Wedbush Securities

Benjamin Kallo - Robert W. Baird & Co

Daniel Mannes - Avondale Partners, LLC

Scott Levine - JPMorgan Chase & Co

Michael Hoffman - Wunderlich Securities, Inc

JinMing Liu - Ardour Capital Investments, LLC

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Covanta Holding Corporation’s First Quarter 2012 Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast. This call is being taped and a replay will be available to listen to later this morning. The playback number is 855-859-2056 or 800-585-8367 for callers in the U.S. and 404-537-3406 for those of you calling from outside of the country. The replay pass code is 68607350. The webcast will be archived on www.covantaenergy.com. And can be replayed or downloaded as an MP3 file.

At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I’d like to turn the call over to Alan Katz, Covanta’s Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Alan Katz

Thank you, Therese, and good morning. Welcome to Covanta’s first quarter 2012 conference call. It’s great to speak with all of you again. IR has had a busy quarter. In addition to our normal activities here in the U.S., we did a lengthy trip to Europe this past quarter. The feedback on the Covanta story and Management’s focus on shareholder friendly actions was very well received on both sides of the pond.

Joining me today on the call will be Tony Orlando, our President and CEO, Sanjiv Khattri, our CFO, Tom Bucks, our Chief Accounting Officer, and Brad Helgelson, our Treasurer.

We will provide an operational and business update, review our financial results and then take your questions. During their prepared remarks, Tony and Sanjiv will be referencing certain slides that we prepared to supplement the audio portion of this call. These slides can be accessed now or after the call in the Investor Relations section of covantaenergy.com. These prepared remarks should be listened to in conjunction with those slides.

Now on to the Safe Harbor. The following discussion may contain forward-looking statements and our actual results may differ materially from those expectations. Information regarding factors that could cause such differences can be found in the company's reports and registration statements filed with the SEC. The content of this conference call contains time sensitive information that is only accurate as of the date of this live broadcast, April 19, 2012. We do not assume any obligation to update our forward-looking information unless required by law.

Any redistribution, retransmission or rebroadcast of this call in any form without the express written consent of Covanta is prohibited. The information presented includes non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measures and management’s reasons for presenting such information is set forth in the press release that was issued last night as well as in the slides posted on our website. Because these measures are not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, they should not be considered in isolation from our financial statements, which are prepared in accordance with GAAP.

It should also be noted that our computations of free cash flow, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EPS may differ from similarly titled computations used by other companies.

With that, I’ll turn the call over to our President and CEO, Tony Orlando. Tony?

Anthony Orlando

Thanks, Alan, and good morning, everyone. Let’s begin with a quick summary of the quarter.

For those of you using the web deck, please turn to slide 3. Our first quarter results were right in line with expectations and we’re making solid progress on our full-year plan. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, revenue was up 4%, adjusted EBITDA was up 3%, free cash flow was up 15% and adjusted EPS improved $0.01.

In addition, in the phase of challenging energy markets, we reaffirmed our full-year guidance. We’re also making steady progress on objectives that will drive long-term results. This includes extended contracts, and executing on our organic growth initiatives. In addition, we took advantage of the market conditions to refinance our corporate debt.

Sanjiv will describe this in detail. So, I will just say, our team did a great job. We extended our maturities on favorable terms and we added a great deal of flexibility to our balance sheet. Furthermore, we continue to deliver on our commitment to return excess capital to shareholders.

In March, we doubled our regular quarterly dividend and we continue to actively repurchase stock this quarter. We’ve now repurchased over 15% of our shares outstanding since the start of the program.

Let me now turn to the business outlook. We will start with waste on slide 4. As we’ve said many times, about 75% of our waste revenue is under long-term contract. And we’re pleased our clients continue to recognize the beneficial service we provide by extending these contracts.

Last quarter I highlighted our Union and Alexandria contract extensions. We had another successful quarter with two more waste contract extensions. First, we signed a five-year contract extension to operate in the Montgomery County, Maryland facility. This contract now runs through 2021.

We’re installing one of our new technologies to reduce our clients cost and there are few other changes, but for the most part the terms are similar to the existing contract. The second extension is at our Tip Fee facility, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Here we extended the contract with our anchor tenant and host community with a 10-year extension that runs to 2024. This contract represents about 1/3 of the capacity of our Springfield facility. The agreement also includes an amendment to our contract relating to the ash monofill that is directly adjacent to the facility. This will support our plan to build and operate a new metal recovery and recycling facility at the monofill, allowing us to grow our metals business.

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