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Market News

 November 01, 2006
Waste Management Inc. profits soar

 Waste Management Inc., the largest recycler and garbage collector in North America, said net income reached US$300 million, or 55 cents a share, from $215 million, or 38 cents, in the year-earlier period.

Earnings for the latest quarter included a $20 million benefit from favorable income-tax-audit settlements and a $16 million reduction from asset-impairment charges.

Excluding these items, it earned $296 million, or 55 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had forecast 48 cents a share.

The Houston company said revenue climbed 2 per cent to $3.44 billion.

Chief Executive David Steiner said the company beat its financial goals for the third quarter "due to the success of our pricing programs combined with a $21 million reduction in our operating expenses" from the year-ago quarter.

Higher revenue yields on its base business offset a 1.8 per cent drop in volume during the quarter, which partly resulted from one less workday. The remaining volume loss came mostly from its collection business as it priced its work to achieve "acceptable margins and returns," the company said.

Waste Management, which employs nearly 50,000 people, raised its 2006 earnings forecast to $1.78 to $1.81 a share excluding one-time items, ahead of the $1.75 a share Thomson First Call estimate.