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WMI defies poor trading conditions to rise 26%

WASTE MANAGEMENT International yesterday reported a 26 per cent rise in net profits to pounds 25m for the three months to 30 June.

WMI, which is the UK-quoted overseas arm of Waste Management of the US, said the result was achieved in spite of poor trading conditions in Europe. Turnover rose 20 per cent to pounds 234.9m and earnings per share were 22 per cent ahead at 6.7p.

Edwin Falkman, chief executive, said WMI was finding it difficult to make price rises stick because of pressure on volumes, particularly at treatment and disposal plants in France and Italy.

He added that the financial improvement reflected cost controls and the benefit from the 25 acquisitions made by the company this year.

Waste Management of the UK, bought by WMI from National Freight Corporation in a joint venture with Wessex Water, was being integrated.

Mr Falkman highlighted WMI's development in the Asia-Pacific region. Chris Patten, Governor of Hong Kong, last month opened a new chemical waste-treatment centre in the colony for the treatment of 100,000 tonnes of waste a year.

WMI is building the first industrial waste-treatment centre in Indonesia, and further landfill development is under way in Australia and New Zealand.

Despite the downturn in Europe, Mr Falkman said the company was still looking at potential acquiistions in the region. The shares, which were floated at 585p last April, yesterday eased 4p to 638p.