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Republic Services (RSG) Gains on CNG Vehicles, Liquidity Ails

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Republic Services (RSG - Free Report) has had an impressive run over the past year. The stock has jumped 35%, outperforming 23.2% growth of the industry it belongs to and the 24.2% rise of the Zacks S&P 500 composite.

RSG reported impressive fourth-quarter 2023 results, with earnings and revenues surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Quarterly earnings per share, excluding 2 cents from non-recurring items, of $1.41 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10.2% and increased 24.8% year over year. Revenues of $3.8 billion surpassed the consensus mark by 2.9% and increased 8.6% year over year.

How Is RSG Doing?

Republic Services is expected to continue benefiting from ongoing trends like increasing environmental concerns, increased population, rapid industrialization and active government measures to lower illegal dumping. The company is aiming to expand its recycling volume via improved material handling processes and programs. RSG developed its first Polymer Center last year to improve plastic recycling across North America. In 2023, revenues increased 10.8% year over year. The company sees sustainability innovation investments in plastic circularity and renewable natural gas as ways to drive profitable growth.

Republic Services is aiming to increase its operational efficiency and lowering fleet operating costs by shifting to compressed natural gas (CNG) collection vehicles. In 2023, 13% of its replacement recycling and solid waste vehicle purchases were CNG vehicles, and around 20% of the company’s recycling and solid waste collection fleet operated on CNG. Also, operational improvements, supported by the RISE digital operations platform, are expected to improve productivity via enhanced route optimization and safety performance. It will provide customers with more predictable service delivery.

In 2023, 2022 and 2021, the company paid out $650 million, $592.9 million and $552.6 million in dividends and repurchased shares worth $261.8 million, $203.5 million and $252.2 million, respectively. These strategies not only instill investors’ confidence but also positively impact the bottom line.

Republic Services' current ratio (a measure of liquidity) at the end of fourth-quarter 2023 was 0.56, lower than the preceding quarter's 0.58 and the year-ago quarter's 0.7. A current ratio of less than 1 indicates that the company may have problems paying off its short-term obligations.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

RSG currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks Business Services sector are Flywire Corporation (FLYW - Free Report) and Limbach (LMB - Free Report) .

Flywire Corp currently has a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). FLYW has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 53.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

FLYW delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 33.1%, on average.

Limbach carries a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. LMB has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 12%.

LMB delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 105.2%, on average.

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