Waste Management Inc. reported higher fourth quarter earnings and sales on Thursday, helped by larger volumes and by hurricane related clean up efforts in Florida. But the company projected that 2005 earnings would be at the lower end of analysts’ estimates.
The company said it posted net income of US $269 million, or 47 cents a share, compared to $183 million or 31 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2003. The fourth quarter 2004 included a gain of eight cents per share from a tax audit settlement. The year-ago quarter included a litigation settlement that boosted earnings by two cents per share and an accounting change that reduced net income by eight cents per share.
The company said its revenues for the quarter were $3.21 billion compared with 2.99 billion during the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call on average estimated the company would post earnings of 38 cents per share on revenue of $3.14 billion.
During 2004, the company said it had an operating revenue of $12.52 billion compared with $11.65 billion in 2003. It said its net income was $939 million or $1.61 per share compared with $630 million or $1.06 per share in 2003.
The company said it expects earnings per share in 2005 to be at the lower end of analysts’ estimates between $1.56 and $1.80 per share. It said it anticipates that as interest rates rise, its gross interest expenses will increase by $40 million to $45 million. Waste Management said it expects fuel costs to increase, too.
Waste Management shares closed up eight cents at $29.77 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.