Boise's haz-mat juggernaut U.S. Ecology reports growth

newsroom@idahostatesman.comMay 5, 2014 

What is Idaho's fastest growing business?

One likely suspect is U.S. Ecology, a Boise-based haz-mat and industrial waste company that is reporting double-digit increases.

The company made a net income of $9.4 million in its first quarter, which ended March 31. That was a 74 percent rise from the same time last year.

Its total revenue was up 24 percent — hitting $53.4 million — year over year, while operating income rose 60 percent.

The company handled 296,000 tons of waste, a 32 percent jump from last year.

Expenses were up, too — by about 16 percent — but U.S. Ecology spent a smaller share of its revenues than it had in the first quarter last year.

What are the secrets to its success? The company has acquired other businesses, including a Canada company that is making up a growing share of U.S. Ecology's earnings — at a lower corporate tax rate. U.S. Ecology also signed a deal after the first quarter to buy The Environmental Quality Co. for $465 million. That company, which goes by EQ, is based in Michigan and in the same line of work as U.S. Ecology. The deal is expected to close this quarter or next quarter.

Business in "the Northeast, Gulf Coast and Southwest regions continued to show strength with new opportunities building on last year's strength," said Jeff Feeler, president and CEO of U.S. Ecology.

The company was so optimistic after its first quarter that it notched up its projections for annual earnings to $1.60 to $1.70 per share, instead of the previous $1.50 to $1.60 per share.

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