Waste Management Announces Plan to Increase Quarterly Dividend Payments by 4.4%

Per Share Dividend to Increase from $1.36 to $1.42 on an Annual Basis

Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) today announced that its Board of Directors has approved a 4.4% increase in the planned quarterly dividend rate, from $0.34 to $0.355 per share. This marks the eighth consecutive year that the Company has increased its planned quarterly dividend.  Each future quarterly dividend must be declared by its Board of Directors prior to payment.  

David P. Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Waste Management, Inc.  said, “Since 2004 we have nearly doubled our dividend per share, and today the dividend yield on our stock is in the top 10% of the S&P 500.  Our strong and steady cash flow allows us to return capital to our shareholders, and our dividend is an important part of our capital allocation plan.” 

The Board of Directors intends to declare the first quarter 2012 dividend in February, at which time the company will announce the record and payment dates for this dividend.  It is expected that the first increased dividend will be paid in March of 2012. 

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 2012. 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; 
  • competition may negatively affect our profitability or cash flows, our pricing strategy may have negative effects on volumes, and inability to execute our pricing strategy in order to retain and attract customers may negatively affect our average yield on collection and disposal business; 
  • increasing use by customers of alternatives to traditional disposal, government mandates requiring recycling and prohibiting disposal of certain types of waste, and overall reduction of waste generated could continue to have a negative effect on volumes of waste going to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities; 
  • we may fail in implementing our optimization initiatives and business strategy, which could adversely impact our financial performance and growth; 
  • weather conditions and one-time special projects cause our results to fluctuate, and harsh weather or natural disasters may cause us to temporarily suspend 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 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; 
  • adverse publicity (whether or not justified) relating to activities by our operations, employees or agents could tarnish our reputation and reduce the value of our brand; 
  • fuel price increases or fuel supply shortages may increase our expenses or restrict our ability to operate; 
  • some of our customers, including governmental entities, have suffered financial difficulties that could affect our business and operating results, due to their credit risk and the impact of the municipal debt market on remarketing of our tax-exempt bonds; 
  • 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; 
  • 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; 
  • we could face significant liability for withdrawal from multiemployer pension plans; 
  • 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; 
  • 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;
  • 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 1A of the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

About Waste Management

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. To learn more information about Waste Management visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com.




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