Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 07, 2019 • 05:00 pm ET

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Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good afternoon and welcome to the Republic Services Fourth Quarter 2018 Investor Conference Call. Republic Services is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol, RSG. All participants in today's call will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Nicole Giandinoto, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer.

Executive
Nicole Giandinoto

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I would like to welcome everyone to Republic Services fourth quarter 2018 conference call. Don Slager, our President and CEO; and Chuck Serianni, our CFO are joining me as we discuss our performance.

I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that some of the information we discuss on today's call contains forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties and may be materially different from actual results. Our SEC filings discuss factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from expectations. The material that we discuss today is time-sensitive.

If in the future, you listen to a rebroadcast or recording of this conference call, you should be sensitive to the date of the original call, which is February 7th, 2019. Please note that this call is the property of Republic Services, Inc. Any redistribution, retransmission or rebroadcast of this call in any form without the express written consent of Republic Services is strictly prohibited.

I want to point out that our SEC filings, our earnings press release, which includes GAAP reconciliation tables and a discussion of business activities along with a recording of this call, are all available on Republic's website at republicservices.com. Also, included in our press release are unaudited supplemental schedules that include a pro forma view of fourth quarter 2017 revenue and cost as we adopted the new revenue recognition standard as of January 1st, 2017.

During today's call, all references to changes versus the prior year are based on the 2017 pro forma figures, which are comparable to 2018 results. Finally, I want to remind you that Republic's Management team routinely participates in investor conferences. When events are scheduled, the dates, times and presentations are posted on our website.

With that, I would like to turn the call over to Don.

Executive
Donald W. Slager

Thanks, Nicole. Good afternoon, everyone and thank you for joining us. We are pleased with our strong finish to 2018. Full year 2018 EPS was $3.09 and in line with our guidance range. Free cash flow was $1.2 billion and exceeded the upper end of our guidance range. Total acquisition investment was over $200 million. Total cash returned to shareholders was $1.2 billion and total shareholder return was 9% compared to the S&P 500's negative return of 4%.

The team delivered these results despite a $145 million headwind from the recycling business. We accomplished this by capitalizing on strong solid waste trends to drive both price and volume growth, strengthening our market position and improving route density through acquisitions, executing our plans to mitigate recycling headwinds in