Waste Management still on growth path

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WASTE Management International, the acquisitive UK-quoted arm of WMX Technologies of the US, continued its strong recent turnover and profits growth although the company warned that trading conditions for its European operations remained tough.

Edwin Falkman, chief executive, warned that pricing for the company's solid and hazardous waste disposal services was still weak because of lower inflation but said some of its markets were experiencing growth again.

In the second quarter, turnover rose 22 per cent to pounds 286.9m, profits before tax were 18 per cent higher at pounds 43.6m and earnings per share rose 9 per cent to 7.3p.

Last year Waste Management made 48 acquisitions in 12 countries, including 11 in the UK and eight in Germany. The company is also expanding in the Far East, with large projects under way in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The growth in turnover, fuelled by acquisitions, gave Mr Falkman a pounds 475,000 bonus last year in addition to his salary of pounds 375,000. The system of bonuses has since been changed so it no longer depends on turnover growth.

Profits growth in the second quarter contributed to a 15 per cent jump in interim pre-tax profits to pounds 82.2m for the six months to June. First-half earnings per share were 13.6p (12.7p).

Despite having a market capitalisation of more than pounds 2.2bn, Waste Management is not a member of the FT-SE 100 index because 80 per cent of the shares are in the hands of its US parent.

The shares closed 5p higher at 588p, still 7p lower than the price at which the company was floated in April 1992.