Waste Management Reports Worse Than Expected Q4 Results

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) reported its Q4 results last week, with EPS of $1.30 coming in worse than the Street estimate of $1.41. Revenue was $4.94 billion, missing the Street estimate of $4.97 billion.

Volumes and average yield were below target, but this was partially offset by lower operating expenses that drove margin expansion above estimates. This appears to be the same story for 2023 with the company providing an outlook where top-line volumes and yield were below expectations, but EBITDA guidance of $5.825 - $5.975 billion was roughly in line due to margin expansion.

The company provided an update to its strategy on renewable energy and recycling investments with 2023 to see the highest spend for these projects which will weigh on free cash flow. While these projects look to have high returns, investors may not appreciate the volatility of earnings that this could potentially bring to a predictable solid waste business and the valuation to ascribe to this is something to consider.