Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 13, 2020 • 05:00 pm ET


Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Republic Services Fourth Quarter 2019 Investor Conference Call. Republic Services is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RSG. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference over to Nicole Giandinoto, Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer. Please go ahead.

Nicole Giandinoto

Thank you. I would like to welcome everyone to Republic Services fourth quarter 2019 conference call. Don Slager, our CEO, Jon Vander Ark, our President 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 involves risks and uncertainties and may be materially different from actual results.

Our SEC filings discuss factors that could cause 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 13, 2020.

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 expressed 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 table and discussion of business activities, along with the recording of this call are all available on Republic's website at 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 their website.

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

Donald W. Slager

Thank you, Nicole. Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us. We are very pleased with our strong finish to 2019. The hard work, passion and commitment from our 36,000 employees enabled us to outperform our upwardly revised EPS and free cash flow guidance, despite continued headwinds from lower recycled commodity prices. By successfully pricing in excess of cost inflation in 2019, we expanded underlying EBITDA margin by 70 basis points and generated over $1.2 billion of adjusted free cash flow. For the full year, we invested over $0.5 billion in acquisitions and returned the remaining cash flow to our shareholders through dividends and opportunistic share repurchases. We continue to believe that disciplined investment in acquisitions with attractive returns is the best use of free cash flow to increase long-term shareholder value.

Our strong finish to 2019 sets us up for continued success in 2020. Given the underlying momentum in our business, we're well positioned to deliver approximately 5% top line revenue growth and nearly 6% EBITDA growth. On top of that we're entering 2020 with one of the strongest acquisition pipelines we've seen in years. We will achieve our 2020 guidance by continuing to prioritize the safety of our people and communities above our wells [Phonetic], attracting