Waste Management Announces Plan to Increase Quarterly Dividend Payments by 8% Per Share Dividend to Increase from $1.26 to $1.36 on an Annual Basis

HOUSTON – December 16, 2010Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) today announced that its Board of Directors has approved an 8% increase in the planned quarterly dividend rate, from $0.315 to $0.34 per share. This marks the seventh consecutive year that the Company has increased its quarterly dividend. Actual future quarterly dividends must first be declared by its Board of Directors prior to payment.  

“This announcement reflects our continued commitment to returning cash to our shareholders,” said David P. Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Waste Management, Inc. “Waste Management continues to produce consistent and strong cash flows, as evidenced by the dividend increase. The Board of Directors and management remain focused on being prudent and disciplined stewards of the Company’s capital.” 

The Company noted that the Board of Directors intends to declare the first quarter 2011 dividend in February, at which time the record and payment dates for the first 2011 quarterly dividend will be announced.  It is expected that the first payment of the increased dividend will occur in March of 2011.

Waste Management, Inc., based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The Company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America.

The Company, from time to time, provides estimates of financial and other data, comments on expectations relating to future periods and makes statements of opinion, view or belief about current and future events. Statements relating to future events and performance are “forward-looking statements” and include statements regarding the declaration and payment of dividends in 2011. You should view these statements with caution. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, circumstances or events or dividends that will actually be declared and paid. They are based on the facts and circumstances known to us as of the date the statements are made. All phases of our business are subject to uncertainties, risks and other influences, many of which we do not control. Any of these factors, either alone or taken together, could have a material adverse effect on us and could cause actual results to be materially different from those set forth in such forward-looking statement. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, including financial estimates, whether as a result of future events, circumstances or developments or otherwise. The following are some of the risks that we face:  

  • volatility and deterioration in the credit markets, inflation and other general and local economic conditions may negatively affect the volumes of waste generated; 
  • economic conditions may negatively affect parties with whom we do business, which could result in late payments or the uncollectability of receivables as well as the non-performance of certain agreements, including expected funding under our credit agreement, which could negatively impact our liquidity and results of operations; 
  • competition may negatively affect our profitability or cash flows, our price increases may have negative effects on volumes, and price roll-backs and lower than average pricing to retain and attract customers may negatively affect our average yield on collection and disposal business;  
  • our existing and proposed service offerings to customers may require that we develop or license, and protect, new technologies; and our inability to obtain or protect new technologies could impact our services to customers and development of new revenue sources;  
  • we may be unable to maintain or expand margins if we are unable to control costs or raise prices;  
  • we may not be able to successfully execute or continue our operational or other margin improvement plans and programs, including: pricing increases; passing on increased costs to our customers; reducing costs; and divesting under-performing assets and purchasing accretive businesses, any failures of which could negatively affect our revenues and margins;  
  • weather conditions cause our quarter-to-quarter results to fluctuate, and harsh weather or natural disasters may cause us to temporarily shut down operations;  
  • possible changes in our estimates of costs for site remediation requirements, final capping, closure and post-closure obligations, compliance and regulatory developments may increase our expenses;  
  • regulations may negatively impact our business by, among other things, restricting our operations, increasing costs of operations or requiring additional capital expenditures;  
  • climate change legislation, including possible limits on carbon emissions, may negatively impact our results of operations by increasing expenses related to tracking, measuring and reporting our greenhouse gas emissions and increasing operating costs and capital expenditures that may be required to comply with any such legislation;  
  • if we are unable to obtain and maintain permits needed to open, operate, and/or expand our facilities, our results of operations will be negatively impacted;  
  • limitations or bans on disposal or transportation of out-of-state, cross-border, or certain categories of waste, as well as mandates on the disposal of waste, can increase our expenses and reduce our revenue;  
  • fuel price increases or fuel supply shortages may increase our expenses or restrict our ability to operate; 
  • increased costs or the inability to obtain financial assurance or the inadequacy of our insurance coverage could negatively impact our liquidity and increase our liabilities;  
  • possible charges as a result of shut-down operations, uncompleted development or expansion projects or other events may negatively affect earnings;  
  • fluctuations in commodity prices may have negative effects on our operating results;  
  • trends requiring recycling, waste reduction at the source and prohibiting the disposal of certain types of waste could have negative effects on volumes of waste going to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities;  
  • efforts by labor unions to organize our employees may increase operating expenses and we may be unable to negotiate acceptable collective bargaining agreements with those who have chosen to be represented by unions, which could lead to labor disruptions, including strikes and lock-outs, which could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows;  
  • negative outcomes of litigation or threatened litigation or governmental proceedings may increase our costs, limit our ability to conduct or expand our operations, or limit our ability to execute our business plans and strategies; 
  • problems with the operation of our current information technology or the development and deployment of new information systems could decrease our efficiencies and increase our costs;  
  • the adoption of new accounting standards or interpretations may cause fluctuations in reported quarterly results of operations or adversely impact our reported results of operations;  
  • we may reduce or suspend capital expenditures, acquisition activity, dividend declarations or share repurchases if we suffer a significant reduction in cash flows; and  
  • we may be unable to incur future indebtedness on terms we deem acceptable or to refinance our debt obligations, including near-term maturities, on acceptable terms and higher interest rates and market conditions may increase our expenses.  

Additional information regarding these and/or other factors that could materially affect results and the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained herein may be found in Part I, Item 1 of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009.



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