Waste Management Inc.'s profit more than doubled year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017, as the company benefited from U.S. tax changes and reported strong revenue growth in its collection and disposal business.
Net income surged to $903 million, or $2.06 per share, in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2017, from $335 million, or 75 cents per share, a year ago.
Waste Management said it recorded a net benefit of $1.21 per share due to the impact of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Adjusted to exclude this item, the company earned 85 cents per share.
As-reported and as-adjusted operating EBITDA in the quarter came in at $1.05 billion and $1.02 billion, respectively, up from $930 million in the prior-year period.
Revenues for the quarter rose 5.5% to $3.65 billion from $3.46 billion a year earlier, with the collection and disposal business posting the biggest contribution to the increase, or $172 million of the revenue growth.
For the full year 2017, net income attributable to Waste Management climbed to $1.95 billion, or $4.41 per share, from $1.18 billion, or $2.65 per share, in the previous year. Adjusted net income rose to $1.43 billion, or $3.22 per share, from $1.30 billion, or $2.91 per share, in 2016.
Full-year revenue climbed to $14.49 billion in 2017 from $13.61 billion in the prior year. As-reported and as-adjusted operating EBITDA both increased year over year to $4.01 billion.
"Looking at the full year, 2017 was exceptional for Waste Management as our continued focus on improving core price, adding profitable volume in a disciplined manner, and controlling costs led to arguably the best year in the company's history," said Waste Management President and CEO Jim Fish.
For 2018, Waste Management is expecting to match or surpass the 2.0% internal revenue growth from yield on the collection and disposal business in 2017. Internal revenue growth from volume is projected to be between 2.0% and 2.2%.
Waste Management said its board intends to raise its dividend by 9.4% or 16 cents to $1.86 per share on an annual basis, for an estimated annual cost of $810 million.
The board also approved the repurchase of up to $1.25 billion of the company's common stock.