How The Waste Was Won (with apologies to John Ford) would tell how Waste Connections has come to provide solid waste collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling services to about 2 million commercial, industrial, and residential customers in 29 states. The integrated solid waste services company does business mainly in smaller markets. It operates primarily in the West, but also in the Midwest and South. Waste Connections owns or operates about 140 solid waste collection operations, 58 transfer stations, 46 landfills, and another 39 recycling facilities. Waste Connections also offers intermodal logistics services in the Pacific Northwest and disposal of nonhazardous oil and gas waste in Southwest Louisiana.
By focusing on acquiring mom-and-pop operations in secondary markets rather than large urban areas, the company has been able to continue riding the crest of a consolidation trend in the waste management industry that began in the 1990s. While other large waste management companies -- including major players Waste Management and Republic Services -- have slowed or halted their buying sprees, Waste Connections has continued to acquire, although selectively.
It targets markets where it can provide waste collection under franchises or exclusive contracts, or where it can hold a leading market position and provide integrated collection and disposal services. More than half of its revenues come from market areas where it has franchise or exclusive arrangements.
The company's acquisitions drove most of its growth in 2011. Waste Connections recorded sales that year of $1.51 billion, up 14% from $1.32 billion in 2010. Net income also increased that year by 22%, to $165.2 million in 2011 from $135.1 million in 2010. Pricing increases related to higher fuel prices and one-time landfill projects helped offset the flat or weakened demand in collection operations. Itermodal, recycling, and other operations contributed a little more than 1% to the company's revenues.
Expanding its geographic coverage, in 2012 the company bought Alaska Pacific Environmental Services Anchorage and Alaska Green Waste Solutions. Later that year the company also agreed to acquire R360 Environmental Solutions, which treats, recovers, and disposes of nonhazardous wastes in oilfields, for $1.3 billion. R360 operates 26 facilities across Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. – less