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Management shake-up at U.S. Ecology

U.S. Ecology's Acting President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Feeler

U.S. Ecology has announced the end of James R. Baumgardner’s term as company president, chief executive officer, and chief operating officer.

The Boise-based hazardous and waste management company elevated Jeffrey R. Feeler to acting president and chief operating officer. He previously served as vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer.

During the company’s third quarter earnings call with industry analysts Oct. 30, U.S. Ecology Board Chairman Stephen A. Romano said Baumgardner’s job was “terminated by mutual agreement.” Romano will guide and support the new company president in an expanded role as chairman. He was U.S. Ecology’s CEO from 2002 to 2009.

The company deferred any questions on the senior management reorganization to its news release.

Crystal Equity Research’s Managing Director Debra Fiakas said, “If I were to make a guess, there have been concerns in the past within the board and management team as to the best approach for acquisitions. And some wanted to be more aggressive than others.”

Al Kaschalk of Webush Securities said the termination was clearly a surprise because third quarter financial results reflect fairly healthy business. “I don’t think it’s business related, I think it’s the politics of a public company.”

U.S. Ecology is doing well financially. The company had an “exceptionally strong” third quarter, Feeler said during the call. Revenues totaled $45.7 million for the quarter this year, compared with $39.7 million in 2011. Treatment and disposal revenues grew by 12 percent while transportation services increased by 40 percent.

Feeler continued, “Our Idaho site posted strong quarter-over-quarter earnings growth which was fueled by increased shipments from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and our Westinghouse Hematite nuclear decommissioning project and other event work.”

Westinghouse Electric Co. has approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to dispose of about 30,000 cubic yards of low-level radioactive waste from a nuclear fuel production facility in Festus, Mo. at the U.S. Ecology site near Grand View. U.S. Ecology uses the term “event work” to refer to these types of clean-up projects.

U.S. Ecology’s total revenues for the first nine months of 2012 equaled $118.7 million in 2012 versus $113.4 million during the same period last year.

About U.S. Ecology

U.S. Ecology provides waste management, disposal and recycling services to commercial and government clients.  The company handles radioactive, hazardous, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), and non-hazardous waste.  Clients include oil refineries and chemical production facilities, manufacturers, electric utilities, steel mills, medical and academic institutions and waste brokers.

The company employs more than 450 at its facilities in the U.S. and Canada.  In Idaho, 40 people work at its Boise headquarters and 62 at its hazardous and radioactive waste treatment and disposal facility in Grand View.  Other U.S. Ecology facilities are located in Beatty, Nev., Robstown, Texas, and Richland, Wash.

Through acquisitions, the company has added two waste disposal plants in the past two years.  In May 2012, it announced the purchase of Dynecol, Inc. in Detroit, Mich. for $11.3 million.  Now known as U.S. Ecology Michigan, the plant mainly provides hazardous liquid waste treatment, storage and disposal services to Midwestern U.S. and Canadian industrial markets.

U.S. Ecology announced in Oct. 2010 it had bought Canadian company Stablex in Blainville, Québec for $77.8 million.  Located about 30 miles northwest of Montreal and 400 miles north of New York and New Jersey, the hazardous waste processing and disposal facility helps the company serve its East Coast customers.  Stablex also receives U.S. Ecology Michigan’s treated waste.  Previously, the Midwest plant shipped this waste to a third-party for disposal.

Also in 2010, U.S. Ecology pursued a deal with Siemens Water Technologies Corp. for a plant in Vernon, Calif.  The $8.7 million proposal to acquire the hazardous liquid waste treatment and disposal plant fell through in early 2011.

About Scott Ki