In light of the nation's economy over the past two years, it should come as no surprise that many of the firms in this year's Waste Age 100 — which ranks firms based on annual revenue — experienced revenue decreases in 2009.
Houston-based Waste Management — the firm that has long topped the list — brought in $11.79 billion in revenue in 2009, down from $13.39 billion in 2008. Cincinnati-based Rumpke, which comes in at No. 15, saw its revenue drop from $407 billion in 2008 to $396 million last year, and San Francisco-based Recology — No. 12 on this year's list — experienced a $20 million decline in revenue.
Moving down the list, Houston-based WCA Waste Corp., which sits in the No. 22 spot, took in $194 million in 2009 — down from $208 million in 2008.
Will the revenue decreases continue in 2010? Some early returns give hope they may not.
For example, Waste Management brought in 4.4 percent more revenue in the first quarter of this year than it did during the same period in 2009. Folsom, Calif.-based Waste Connections, Toronto-based IESI-BFC and WCA Waste also were among the publicly traded companies that announced first-quarter revenue increases.
In a statement accompanying his company's first-quarter earnings report, Waste Management CEO David Steiner noted that the decline in waste volumes had slowed, and he predicted that volumes would show growth during the second half of this year.
Such a development would be welcome news indeed.
The 100 Largest Solid Waste Firms
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