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Covanta's Q4'17 adjusted EPS widely misses estimates

Covanta Holding Corp. on Feb. 22 booked adjusted EBITDA of $147 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, up from $128 million in the same period in 2016.

On a per-share basis, the company recorded adjusted EPS of 9 cents per share for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2017, compared to 17 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2016. The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the quarter was 21 cents per share.

Free cash flow for the period was $102 million, compared to $108 million in fourth quarter 2016, while net income surged to $131 million from $8 million in the comparable quarter of 2016.

The company's operating revenues for the quarter totaled $495 million, up from $457 million, while operating expenses increased to $437 million from $399 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Full-year 2017 saw the company's adjusted EBITDA drop to $408 million from $410 million in 2016. Covanta's 2017 adjusted EPS widened to a loss of 37 cents per share from a loss of 6 cents per share in 2016.

Free cash flow decreased to $132 million in 2017 from $176 million in 2016, while operating revenues ticked up to $1.75 billion from $1.70 billion.

For 2018, Covanta is targeting adjusted EBITDA in the range of $425 million to $455 million and free cash flow of $70 million to $100 million.