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Trash disposer's 1Q in line
May 9, 2001: 8:31 a.m. ET

Waste Management lower earnings match forecasts excluding charges
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Waste Management Inc. reported lower first-quarter earnings excluding one-time items that matched Wall Street forecasts Wednesday as sales fell at the No. 1 U.S. trash hauler.

Houston-based Waste Management reported profits of $149 million, or 24 cents a share, excluding charges, down from $161 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had forecast 24 cents a share on average, according to the research firm First Call.

Including charges mainly from consulting fees and systems development, Waste Management's net income more than doubled to $124 million, or 20 cents a share from $55 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Sales fell to $2.7 billion from $3.2 billion.

The company, which has been under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged improper consulting fees paid to auditor Arthur Anderson, said it met results by deferring maintenance and overtime costs and put off hiring new personnel in the quarter.

"Although revenues were slightly less than we had anticipated in the quarter, the pro forma earnings are in line with what we had expected," Chairman Maurice Myers said in a statement, referring to results excluding one-time items.

The company said it expects sales to grow again in the second quarter if trends in higher landfill volumes continue through May and June.

Waste Management (WMI: Research, Estimates) shares ended up 78 cents at $26.30 Tuesday. graphic