Republic Services, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Phoenix-based Allied Waste have completed integration planning for their merger, which is expected to close in fourth-quarter 2008. As of press time, both companies had scheduled meetings on Nov. 14 for shareholders to vote on the pending merger.

"As we move through the planning process and get closer to the completion of this merger, we are very confident that we will be able to achieve value for our shareholders by building on both companies' foundations of profitable growth," said Jim O'Connor, chairman and CEO of Republic Services, in a press release. "Our strategic focus remains on realizing merger savings, improving return on invested capital, reducing debt and generating higher levels of free cash flow as we work towards positioning the new Republic to provide better opportunities for employees, significant operating efficiencies, unmatched customer service and long-term shareholder value."

The boards of directors for both companies have recommended that their shareholders vote in favor of the merger, which has received registration approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Our integration teams have worked hard to complete the integration planning process to prepare our joint leadership team to enhance Republic's position in the U.S. environmental services industry," said Don Slager, president and CEO of Allied Waste, in a press release. "The bottom line is that we are certain that we have the right people and the right plan to execute a smooth transition that creates value for our shareholders and enhanced career opportunities for our employees. With the 'day-one' merger plans in place, our integration teams are now focusing on developing the plans for the first few months of the merger to ensure a smooth transition and integration."