Waste To Energy Giant Covanta (CVA) Misses & Issues Weak Guidance

Covanta Holding (CVA), the waste to energy giant, reported less than stellar results after the bell today missing analyst estimates across the board.  The company reported an EPS of .18/share which missed analyst views of .23/share, but was a 20% improvement over the year ago quarter.  Revenues missed as well at $407 million ($20 million shy of analyst estimates) and were off 2% from the year ago quarter.  All in all, not an awful quarter but not one that gets you in the buy mood either. 

The company issued 2010 guidance below the street as well.  The company sees EPS in the range of .55 – .75 (about flat over last year) which is considerably lower than the Wall St estimate of .87/share.  That’s the kind of guidance that can weigh on a stock for awhile.  So, while Covanta had been looking increasingly bullish in recent months, the guidance puts me on the sidelines for at least the next several months. 

CEO Anthony Orlando tried to put a positive spin on the quarter, saying, “Our base business demonstrated strength and resiliency by generating more free cash flow than our prior best year in spite of lower recycled metal and energy prices. In addition, we made excellent progress on our growth initiatives by acquiring Veolia’s North American Energy-from-Waste business and breaking ground on strategic new Energy-from-Waste capacity on three continents. This performance is a real credit to all of Covanta’s outstanding employees.”

Shares of CVA are down a little more than 3% in after hours trading.

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