Value Analysis of Waste Management Every Investor Should Read

Waste Management (WM) stock climbed 0.9 % this afternoon. According to our metrics, the company seems overvalued at today's prices. In the below analysis, we will put Waste Management's valuation in the context of its strong growth indicators and mixed market sentiment, which are also strong drivers for share price.

Waste Management, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the provision of environmental solutions to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in the United States and Canada. The large-cap Utilities company is based in Houston, United States and has 49,500 full time employees.

WM Has a Higher P/E Ratio Than the Sector Average

Compared to the Utilities sector's average of 22.89, Waste Management has a trailing twelve month price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 30.3 and an expected P/E ratio of 24.5. The P/E ratios are calculated by dividing the company's share price by its trailing 12 month of $5.46 or forward earnings per share of $6.76.

Earnings represent the net profits left over after subtracting costs of goods sold, taxes, and operating costs from the company's recorded sales revenue. One way of looking at the P/E ratio is that it represents how much investors are willing to pay for every dollar's worth of the company's earnings. Since Waste Management's P/E ratio is higher than its sector average of 22.89, we can deduce that the market is overvaluing the company's earnings.

Waste Management Is Overvalued in Terms of Expected Growth

Waste Management's PEG ratio is 3.21. This metric represents the company's earnings per share divided by its expected growth ratio, and is a useful complement to the price to earnings analysis, because it factors in growth to the valuation. A PEG ratio around or below 1 implies that the market in fairly valuing the company in terms of its growth estimates. But when the PEG ratio is higher, as in Waste Management's case, it tells us the company is overvalued.

WM Has an Alarming P/B Ratio

The price to book (P/B) ratio of a company is a comparison of the company's market capitalization versus its net asset, or book value. A ratio lower than 1 tells you that the equity market is undervaluing the book value of the company's assets, and ratios higher than 1 tell you that the equity markets are overvaluing the company in terms of its assets.

Of course, a company is worth much more than its assets alone, so the focus on P/B ratio is mainly to enable investors to single out undervalued securities that offer a margin of safety. Since Waste Management's P/B ratio of 9.92 is higher than its sector average of 1.03, such a margin of safety does not exist for the stock.

Investors Stand to Gain from WM's Cash Flows

Waste Management has strong cash flows. With a coefficient of variability of 13.7% and an average growth rate of -1.3%, the company is effectively turning its revenue into cash. We calculate Waste Management's free cash flows by subtracting capital expenditures (long term investments in the business) from its total cash flows from operations. The table below shows us that capital expenditures are evolving at a 9.2% rate, versus 4.0% for operating expenses:

Date Reported Cash Flow from Operations ($ k) Capital expenditures ($ k) Free Cashflow ($ k) YoY Growth (%)
2022-12-31 4,536,000 -2,587,000 1,949,000 -19.93
2021-12-31 4,338,000 -1,904,000 2,434,000 37.44
2020-12-31 3,403,000 -1,632,000 1,771,000 -13.86
2019-12-31 3,874,000 -1,818,000 2,056,000 n/a

Waste Management's Margins Are Strong

If you buy a stock for the long run, you want the underlying business model to be profitable. Gross margins tell you how much profit the company generates compared to the cost of revenue, which is the cost directly related to providing Waste Management's goods and services. Operating margins, on the other hand, tell you how much of these profits the company keeps after you take overhead into account.

Waste Management's Gross Margins

Date Reported Revenue ($ k) Cost of Revenue ($ k) Gross Margins (%) YoY Growth (%)
2022-12-31 19,698,000 12,294,000 37.59 -1.16
2021-12-31 17,931,000 11,111,000 38.03 -1.53
2020-12-31 15,218,000 9,341,000 38.62 0.16
2019-12-31 15,455,000 9,496,000 38.56 n/a

Waste Management's Operating Margins

Date Reported Total Revenue ($ k) Operating Expenses ($ k) Operating Margins (%) YoY Growth (%)
2022-12-31 19,698,000 3,976,000 17.4 5.52
2021-12-31 17,931,000 3,863,000 16.49 1.29
2020-12-31 15,218,000 3,399,000 16.28 -8.64
2019-12-31 15,455,000 3,205,000 17.82 n/a

Waste Management's cost of revenue is growing at a rate of 6.7% in contrast to 5.5% for operating expenses. Sales revenues, on the other hand, have experienced a 6.3% growth rate. As a result, the average gross margins growth is -0.6 and the average operating margins growth rate is -0.6, with coefficients of variability of 1.3% and 4.3% respectively.

Waste Management Benefits From Positive Market Signals

The market sentiment regarding Waste Management is overwhelmingly positive. The stock has an average rating of buy and target prices ranging from $200.0 to $162.0. WM is trading -6.38% away from its target price of $176.89. 1.1% of the company's shares are tied to short positions, and 83.4% of the shares are held by institutional investors.

Date Reported Holder Percentage Shares Value
2023-03-31 Vanguard Group, Inc. (The) 9% 37,469,761 $6,205,179,610
2023-03-31 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust 9% 35,234,344 $5,834,983,387
2023-03-31 Blackrock Inc. 7% 30,180,405 $4,998,025,841
2023-03-31 State Street Corporation 4% 17,992,136 $2,979,587,605
2023-03-31 Geode Capital Management, LLC 2% 7,023,255 $1,163,086,114
2023-03-31 Morgan Stanley 2% 6,905,438 $1,143,575,030
2023-03-31 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. 1% 5,728,930 $948,739,428
2023-03-31 Bank of America Corporation 1% 5,514,373 $913,207,717
2023-03-31 Lazard Asset Management LLC 1% 5,377,939 $890,613,565
2023-03-31 Pictet Asset Management SA 1% 4,866,027 $805,838,380
The above analysis is intended for educational purposes only and was performed on the basis of publicly available data. It is not to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Any buy, sell, or other recommendations mentioned in the article are direct quotations of consensus recommendations from the analysts covering the stock, and do not represent the opinions of Market Inference or its writers. Past performance, accounting data, and inferences about market position and corporate valuation are not reliable indicators of future price movements. Market Inference does not provide financial advice. Investors should conduct their own review and analysis of any company of interest before making an investment decision.