Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549



FORM 10-K
FOR ANNUAL AND TRANSITION REPORTS PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

(Mark One)    
ý   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended April 30, 2009

Or

o

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                        to                         

Commission file number 000-23211

CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware   03-0338873
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
  (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

25 Greens Hill Lane, Rutland, VT

 

05701
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (802) 775-0325

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock, $.01 per share par value   The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
(NASDAQ Global Select Market)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None.

        Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes o    No ý

        Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes o    No ý

        Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes o    No o

        Indicate by checkmark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý    No o

        Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ý

        Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer", "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check One):

Large accelerated filer o   Accelerated filer ý   Non-accelerated filer o
(Do not check if a smaller
reporting company)
  Smaller reporting company o

        Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o    No ý

        The aggregate market value of the common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the last reported sale price of the registrant's Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Stock Market at the close of business on October 31, 2008 was $123,991,116. The Company does not have any non-voting common stock outstanding.

        There were 24,678,700 shares of Class A common stock, $.01 par value per share, of the registrant outstanding as of May 29, 2009. There were 988,200 shares of Class B common stock, $.01 par value per share, of the registrant outstanding as of May 29, 2009.

Documents Incorporated by Reference

        Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III (except for information required with respect to executive officers of the Company, which is set forth under Part I—Business—"Executive Officers and Other Key Employees of the Company" and with respect to certain equity compensation plan information which is set forth under Part III—"Equity Compensation Plan Information") have been omitted from this Annual Report on Form 10-K, because the Company expects to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, not later than 120 days after the close of its fiscal year, a definitive proxy statement. The information required by Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this report, which will appear in the definitive proxy statement, is incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC.

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I.

       
 

ITEM 1.

 

BUSINESS

  4
 

ITEM 1A.

 

RISK FACTORS

  26
 

ITEM 1B.

 

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

  34
 

ITEM 2.

 

PROPERTIES

  34
 

ITEM 3.

 

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

  34
 

ITEM 4.

 

SUBMISSION OF MATTERS TO A VOTE OF SECURITY HOLDERS

  37

PART II.

       
 

ITEM 5.

 

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

  38
 

ITEM 6.

 

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

  40
 

ITEM 7.

 

MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

  42
 

ITEM 7A.

 

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

  65
 

ITEM 8.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

  66
 

ITEM 9.

 

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

  130
 

ITEM 9A.

 

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

  130

PART III.

       
 

ITEM 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

 

INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE FROM DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT

  131

PART IV.

       
 

ITEM 15.

 

EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULE

  132

SIGNATURES

  133

SCHEDULE II—VALUATION AND QUALIFYING ACCOUNTS

  134

EXHIBIT INDEX

  135

2


Table of Contents


PART I

Forward Looking Statements

        This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains or incorporates a number of forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), including statements regarding:

        In addition, any statements contained in or incorporated by reference into this report that are not statements of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of the words "believes", "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "may", "will", "would", "intends", "estimates" and other similar expressions, whether in the negative or affirmative. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industry and markets in which the Company operates as well as management's beliefs and assumptions, and should be read in conjunction with the Company's consolidated financial statements and notes to consolidated financial statements included in this report. The Company cannot guarantee that it actually will achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements made. The occurrence of the events described and the achievement of the expected results, depends on many events, some or all of which are not predictable or within the Company's control. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in forward-looking statements.

        There are a number of important risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, those detailed in Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Company does not intend to update publicly any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.

3


Table of Contents


ITEM 1.    BUSINESS

Overview

        Founded in 1975 with a single truck, Casella Waste Systems, Inc. is a vertically-integrated company. The Company provides resource management expertise and services to residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial customers, primarily in the areas of solid waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services. The Company now operates in 14 states—the Company operates vertically integrated solid waste operations in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Maine; and stand alone materials processing facilities in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin.

        As of May 31, 2009, the Company owned and/or operated 32 solid waste collection operations, 31 transfer stations, 37 recycling facilities, nine Subtitle D landfills, one landfill permitted to accept construction and demolition materials, and one waste-to-energy facility, as well as a 50% interest in a joint venture that manufactures, markets and sells cellulose insulation made from recycled fiber. The Company also has a 19.9% interest in a surety company which provides surety bonds to the Company to secure contractual performance for municipal solid waste collection contracts and landfill closure and post-closure obligations and a 16.2% interest in a company that markets an incentive based recycling service.

        The long-term vision of the organization is to build a highly sustainable and profitable company by transforming traditional solid waste streams into renewable resources. Global competition for limited resources is, the Company believes, creating significant business opportunities for companies that can sustain and extract value—in the form of energy and raw materials—from resources previously considered an irretrievable waste stream. Since the opening of its first recycling facility in Vermont in 1977, the Company's business strategy has been firmly tied to creating a sustainable resource management model and the Company continues to be rooted in these same tenets today. Each day the Company strives to create long-term value for all stakeholders: customers, employees, communities, and shareholders, by helping customers and communities manage their resources in a sustainable and financially sound manner.

Strategy

        The Company's long-term strategy is to create economically beneficial uses for waste streams through resource transformation solutions. Since the value of commodities after processing costs is typically higher than other disposal options, such as landfilling or incineration, the Company believes this strategy is effective long-term. The Company believes that as carbon taxes or cap and trade systems are implemented and the demand for commodities rises, economics will further favor this strategy. The Company is also focusing on lowering the cost of resource transformation solutions by reducing its recycling processing operating costs, examining ways to mitigate commodity price fluctuations, and developing new processing technologies. These steps will help to build an effective business model at lower commodity pricing levels.

        The Company recognizes that the implementation of this strategy will be dependent upon the broader commodity and disposal pricing markets. In the fourth quarter of calendar 2008 global commodity prices collapsed. As a result of this collapse the Company expects to make limited investments in its long-term strategy until the commodity markets improve.

        The Company's short-term strategy is focused on generating free cash flow to repay debt and improving return on invested capital.

        In fiscal year 2010 the Company's strategy is to drive additional free cash flow by improving profitability and limiting capital spending to only low risk—high return opportunities, while leveraging the existing asset base.

4


Table of Contents

        In order to improve profitability, the Company is carefully reviewing pricing strategies with the aim of improving core pricing in excess of the consumer price index. In addition the Company will be examining cost structure with the goal of reducing cost of operations, including a reduction in general and administrative costs. In order to further improve cash flow, the Company has established a goal to spend approximately $48.0 to $54.0 million in capital expenditures for fiscal year 2010, well below the average annual capital expenditures of $84.7 million over the past five years. The Company believes that with the decreased volumes associated with the current recession, the potential volume losses which will result from any pricing initiatives and the operating asset efficiency initiatives this goal can be achieved with minimal impact to the core business of the Company.

        In conjunction with the strategy of improving cash flows the Company also plans to undertake an examination of assets in each market. The goal of this exercise will be to identify low performing assets and determine if these assets can be improved or if they ought to be sold, closed or simply "run for cash." The Company plans to conduct this review during the first six months of fiscal year 2010. Until the analysis is complete, the Company will not know what, if any, actions will result but it is possible that material losses on divestitures or asset impairments could arise as a result of management decisions after this analysis.

        The Company is focused on four main areas to improve the performance of base operations and increase cash flow generation: (1) pricing initiatives; (2) cost controls and operating efficiencies; (3) landfill development initiatives; and (4) asset management.

        Over the past two years we have realigned the solid waste sales organization, including the introduction of a number of new sales programs, standardization of the sales process, and center led solid waste pricing. As part of this initiative we created a process to monitor field pricing and identify customers who have not been appropriately priced. We have also increased the pricing logic used in our fee programs and increased fee levels and participation levels. We expect to continue to add to our fee based pricing through additional administrative fees, recycling fees, late charges and further improvements to our existing fee structures. The goal of our pricing program is to generate price increases in excess of CPI.

        By centralizing collection pricing in early fiscal year 2008 and landfill pricing in early fiscal year 2009, the Company has standardized its approach and begun to yield pricing in excess of CPI. In December 2008, Casella increased solid waste pricing by roughly 3.9%, yielding a net annualized benefit of $6.0 million. During fiscal year 2010, the Company plans to further expand successful fee based programs (fuel, oil, and environmental recovery fees) to recover increased costs and margin. In addition, the Company will look to implement other successful pricing tools utilized in the industry, such as container pickup charges and invoicing charges.

        The FCR recycling group derives revenue from a combination of commodity sales and tipping fees paid for material processing. Fluctuations in commodity pricing are managed by a number of risk mitigation strategies including: financial hedging instruments, floor prices, forward sales contracts, index purchases, floating customer revenue shares, and tipping fees. The goal is to smooth revenue, net of cost of products purchased, and generate consistent cash flows. With the large dislocation in commodity prices in late calendar 2008, the FCR recycling group increased tipping fees by over 64.0% to offset commodity pricing weakness. This tipping fee pricing increase in January 2009 yielded a net annualized benefit of roughly $9.9 million. The group will continue to use tipping fees or other fees to offset any additional weakness in commodity pricing.

5


Table of Contents

        During fiscal year 2009 the Company furthered cost control efforts with the consolidation of several operating units into market areas, the elimination of one regional office, the introduction of select operating efficiency initiatives, and G&A reductions. The Company plans to expand these successful programs into the future to drive additional cost reductions.

        As Casella grew through acquisitions over a 20 year period, separate divisional management teams were maintained for many entities, adding cost and complexity to the business structure. Consolidating these entities into market areas drives value by: eliminating redundant management and overhead costs; improving routing efficiency and asset utilization; and consolidating maintenance and support functions. During fiscal year 2009, the Company furthered its efforts by consolidating 11 operating divisions into five new market areas, permanently eliminating redundant positions and improving operational efficiency. As part of these efforts the Company reduced total workforce by 11.9% since May 2008, resulting in a $11.0 million annualized benefit.

        The Company continues to search for the best practices throughout the entire organization and then implements these solutions through standardized continuous improvement programs. The goals of these programs are to enhance customer service, increase safety for employees, and to reduce operating and administrative costs. The Company has implemented continuous improvement programs in safety, productivity, maintenance, customer service, environmental compliance, and procurement.

        Over the past year, best practices efforts were primarily focused on improving fleet routing and reducing long-haul transportation costs. During the first half of fiscal year 2009, the Company piloted a new fleet routing software program in the largest market area, and yielded meaningful reductions in labor and truck operating hours by more efficiently routing vehicles. With the success in this market, a company-wide roll-out is beginning and is expected to take roughly two years. The program was introduced in an additional five market areas in late fiscal year 2008, is expected to be completed in fiscal year 2010, and is expected to yield $1.2 million of annualized savings for these initial markets. In addition, the Company is expanding efforts to increase customer container sizes, allowing the ability to reduce the frequency of pick-ups and reduce operating costs. Another successful fleet efficiency effort is the multi-year program to convert vehicles from rear-load to front-load. Converting to front-load trucks reduces the time to service a customer and increases truck capacity.

        In late fiscal year 2009 the Company began a review of all long-haul transportation routes, including transportation from transfer stations to landfills and from materials recycling facilities to customer mills. As part of this effort the Company identified opportunities to reduce operating costs by increasing trailer load factors, outsourcing transportation operations, and redeploying fleet to new lanes. As a first step in this initiative, the Company outsourced long-haul transportation from transfer stations to our Waste USA landfill in late fiscal year 2009. Outsourcing these lanes is projected to reduce operating costs by $0.8 million per year through the replacement of walking-floor trailers with an outsourced fleet and tipper trailers that increase waste carrying capacity.

        In 2003, the Company set an ambitious goal to add disposal capacity to the solid waste franchise both to strengthen market position and to create a sustainable long-term foundation for the business.

        From fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2008, the Company made strides in executing landfill development growth initiative by adding significant total and annual permitted disposal capacity within its solid waste footprint, primarily through the strategy of entering into operating contracts for publicly-owned landfills. Total and annual disposal capacity additions resulted from: (1) the addition of four landfills (Southbridge landfill in Massachusetts; Ontario County landfill in New York; Juniper Ridge landfill in Maine; and Chemung County landfill in New York); and (2) permit expansions at existing

6


Table of Contents


landfills. Since April 30, 2003, the Company has added 68.2 million tons of permitted and permittable total landfill capacity to the solid waste business, bringing the total landfill capacity to 97.9 million tons as of April 30, 2009.

        During this same period, the Company added 1.6 million tons of annual disposal capacity bringing the total to 3.0 million as of April 30, 2009. In fiscal year 2008, the Company successfully expanded the annual permitted capacity at the Hakes and the Ontario County landfills by an aggregate of approximately 450,000 tons per year.

        With the addition of this total disposal capacity, the strategic emphasis shifted to a focus on creating free cash flow and generating an enhanced return on invested capital at the new and existing landfill sites. To increase the return on invested capital, the Company is: seeking to finalize regulatory approval for the Southbridge conversion and expansion; seeking permit modifications to increase annual permitted capacity; and optimizing flows of waste across the northeast to obtain better integration and asset profitability.

        The Company's deployment of capital has evolved with its business strategy over the past three years from an emphasis on growth investments primarily in long-term landfill capacity to an approach that focuses on free cash flow generation from base operations with limited investments in high return resource transformation solutions.

        From fiscal year 2003 to fiscal year 2007, the Company invested approximately $177.5 million of capital to acquire and develop strategically located landfill capacity. Capital spending was elevated during this period as the Company built-out 25 to 30-year infrastructure and met contractual obligations associated with operating leases at certain of the landfill facilities. The heightened growth capital investment for existing landfill development projects was largely completed by the end of fiscal year 2007 and the focus shifted during fiscal year 2008 to extracting appropriate returns from the invested capital. The landfill capacity added to the business is the foundation of today's integrated solid waste strategy, and these sites will serve as a platform for emerging resource transformation programs into the future.

        During fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the Company's capital strategy was focused in three main areas: (1) improving the mix of base operations through divestitures, exchanges or closures; (2) implementing operating programs that improve capital efficiency and asset utilization; and (3) pursuing select strategic investment opportunities in waste transformation and resource optimization.

        As part of this strategy, the Company divested and closed underperforming and non-strategic operations amounting to $21.6 million of annual revenues in late fiscal year 2007 and fiscal year 2008. This effort was focused on closing or divesting low margin operations that do not fit the long-term strategic plan.

        As described above, operating initiatives such as the fleet routing software program and outsourcing of long-haul transportation are reducing immediate and expected future maintenance capital requirements. The routing initiative has freed up a number of spare collection trucks by more efficiently routing existing fleet to customer stops. These spare trucks will be used to supplement fleet needs for the next several years and will help to reduce the maintenance capital requirements. Outsourcing long-haul transportation from transfer stations to the Waste USA landfill has reduced maintenance capital requirements and freed up assets to be redeployed to other transportation lanes as required.

        Over the past two years the Company has selectively invested growth capital in high-return opportunities that enhance its ability to support emerging customer and market needs in waste transformation and resource optimization. The investment strategy seeks to leverage core competencies

7


Table of Contents


in materials processing to create additional value from the waste stream. Investments in Zero-Sort™ Recycling and landfill gas-to-energy facilities position the Company well for the evolution of the industry from waste management to resource management.

        To further improve cash flow generation over the next two years, the Company plans to limit capital spending to necessary maintenance capital expenditures and high-return growth projects that are either in-process or contractually obligated.

Solid Waste Operations

        Our solid waste operations comprise a full range of non-hazardous solid waste services, including collection operations, transfer stations, material recycling facilities and disposal facilities.

        Collections.    A majority of our commercial and industrial collection services are performed under one to three-year service agreements, with prices and fees determined by such factors as collection frequency, type of equipment and containers furnished, the type, volume and weight of solid waste collected, distance to the disposal or processing facility and cost of disposal or processing. Our residential collection and disposal services are performed either on a subscription basis (i.e., with no underlying contract) with individuals, or through contracts with municipalities, homeowner associations, apartment building owners, or mobile home park operators.

        Transfer Stations.    Our transfer stations receive, compact and transfer solid waste collected primarily by various collection operations, for transport to disposal facilities by larger vehicles. We believe that transfer stations benefit us by: (1) increasing the size of the wastesheds which have access to our landfills; (2) reducing costs by improving utilization of collection personnel and equipment; and (3) helping us build relationships with municipalities and other customers by providing a local physical presence and enhanced local service capabilities.

        Material Recycling Facilities.    Our material recycling facilities, or MRFs, receive, sort, bale and resell recyclable materials originating from the municipal solid waste stream, including newsprint, cardboard, office paper, containers and bottles. Through FCR, we operate 20 MRFs in geographic areas not served by our collection divisions or disposal facilities and three in geographic areas served by our collection divisions. Revenues are received from municipalities and customers in the form of processing fees, tipping fees and commodity sales. These MRFs are large-scale, high-volume facilities that process recycled materials delivered to them by municipalities and commercial customers under long-term contracts. We also operate MRFs as an integral part of our core solid waste operations, which generally process recyclables collected from our various residential collection operations. This latter group is concentrated primarily in Vermont, as the public sector in other states within our core solid waste services market area has generally maintained primary responsibility for recycling efforts.

        Disposal Facilities.    We dispose of solid waste at our landfills and at our waste-to-energy facility.

8


Table of Contents

        Landfills.    The following table (in thousands) reflects landfill capacity and airspace changes, as measured in tons, as of April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009, for landfills we operated during the years then ended:

 
  April 30, 2007   April 30, 2008   April 30, 2009  
 
  Estimated
Remaining
Permitted
Capacity
in Tons
(1)
  Estimated
Additional
Permittable
Capacity
in Tons
(1)(2)
  Estimated
Total
Capacity
  Estimated
Remaining
Permitted
Capacity
in Tons
(1)
  Estimated
Additional
Permittable
Capacity
in Tons
(1)(2)
  Estimated
Total
Capacity
  Estimated
Remaining
Permitted
Capacity
in Tons(1)
  Estimated
Additional
Permittable
Capacity
in Tons
(1)(2)
  Estimated
Total
Capacity
 

Balance, beginning of year

    24,076     62,577     86,653     37,152     56,969     94,121     33,019     59,404     92,423  
 

New expansions pursued(3)

        10,283     10,283         1,693     1,693         2,643     2,643  
 

Permits granted(4)

    15,467     (15,864 )   (397 )               5,272     (5,272 )    
 

Airspace consumed

    (2,904 )       (2,904 )   (3,274 )       (3,274 )   (3,006 )       (3,006 )
 

Changes in engineering estimates(5)

    513     (27 )   486     (859 )   742     (117 )   2,959     2,898     5,857  
                                       

Balance, end of year

    37,152     56,969     94,121     33,019     59,404     92,423     38,244     59,673     97,917  
                                       

(1)
We convert estimated remaining permitted capacity and estimated additional permittable capacity from cubic yards to tons generally by assuming a compaction factor equal to the historic average compaction factor applicable to the respective landfill over the last three fiscal years. In addition to a total capacity limit, certain permits may place a daily and/or annual limit on capacity.

(2)
Represents capacity which we have determined to be "permittable" in accordance with the following criteria: (i) we control the land on which the expansion is sought; (ii) all technical siting criteria have been met or a variance has been obtained or is reasonably expected to be obtained; (iii) we have not identified any legal or political impediments which we believe will not be resolved in our favor; (iv) we are actively working on obtaining any necessary permits and we expect that all required permits will be received; and (v) senior management has approved the project.

(3)
The increase in fiscal year 2007 is primarily due to a determination of additional permittable airspace capacity at our Ontario and Clinton County landfills. The increase in fiscal year 2008 is primarily due to a determination of additional permittable airspace capacity at our Hakes construction and demolition landfill. The increase in fiscal year 2009 is due to a determination of additional permittable airspace capacity at our Southbridge and Clinton County landfills.

(4)
The increase in permitted airspace capacity in fiscal 2007 is associated with permits received at our Hyland, Hakes, Pine Tree and Waste USA landfill facilities. The increase in permitted airspace capacity in fiscal 2009 is associated with permits received at our Clinton County landfill facility.

(5)
The increase in airspace capacity in fiscal 2009 is associated with improved airspace utilization and compaction at the Western and Eastern region landfills. Most notably, the Juniper Ridge site in the Eastern region reflected an increase of 4.3 million tons due to depth of waste as well as the positive compaction effect of a change in waste mix inside the three year average from only unprocessed construction and demolition materials to processed construction and demolition materials, residue, soil, ash and sludge.

        NCES.    The North Country Environmental Services ("NCES") landfill located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire serves the wastesheds of New Hampshire and certain Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts wastesheds. The facility is currently permitted to accept municipal solid waste and C&D material. Since the purchase of this landfill in 1994, we have experienced opposition from the local town through enactment of restrictive local zoning and planning ordinances. In each case, in order to access additional capacity, we have been required to assert our rights through litigation in the New Hampshire court system. In August 2005, we received approval for additional permitted capacity within the original 51 acres, which we expect to last into fiscal year 2010. We believe that the site also includes, as permittable airspace, an additional 1.3 million cubic yards within the existing 51 acre footprint. This airspace is subject to the outcome of litigation with, and approvals from, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Such approvals would extend the site life by approximately eight years to 2018. See Note 13(b) to our Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

        Waste USA.    The Waste USA landfill is located in Coventry, Vermont and serves the major wastesheds throughout Vermont. The landfill is permitted to accept residential and commercially produced municipal solid waste, including pre-approved sludges, and construction and demolition debris. Since our purchase of this landfill in 1995, we have expanded its capacity which we expect to last through approximately fiscal year 2033. In fiscal year 2005, the annual permit was increased from 240,000 to 370,000 tons.

9


Table of Contents

        Clinton County.    The Clinton County landfill, located in Schuyler Falls, New York and serves the principal wastesheds of Clinton, Essex, Warren, Washington, and Saratoga Counties in New York, and certain selected contiguous Vermont wastesheds. Permitted waste accepted includes MSW, C&D debris, and special waste which is approved by regulatory agencies. The facility recently received a permit for a multi-year landfill expansion which will provide considerable additional volume. The Clinton County site commenced operations in fiscal year 2009 of a landfill gas-to-energy facility.

        Pine Tree.    The Pine Tree landfill is located in Hampden, Maine. It is a secure, special waste landfill, permitted to accept construction and demolition debris, ash from municipal solid waste incinerators and fossil fuel boilers, sandblast grits, oily waste and oil spill debris, non-friable asbestos, and other approved special wastes. In November 2006 a phased closure of the landfill was approved by the Town of Hampden and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which will require cessation of waste acceptance by December 31, 2009.

        Juniper Ridge.    On February 5, 2004, we completed transactions with the State of Maine and Georgia-Pacific, pursuant to which the State of Maine took ownership of the landfill located in West Old Town, Maine, formerly owned by Georgia Pacific, and we became the operator of that facility under a 30-year operating and services agreement between us and the State of Maine. The site is located on approximately 780 acres with 68 acres currently dedicated for waste disposal. The site has sufficient acreage within the 780 acres to permit the additional airspace required for the term of the 30-year operating and services agreement. The site is currently permitted to take construction and demolition debris, ash from municipal solid waste incinerators and fossil fuel boilers, FEPR and bypass MSW from waste-to-energy facilities, treatment plant sludge and biosolids sandblast grits, oily waste and oil spill debris, and other approved special wastes from within the state of Maine. There are no annual tonnage limitations at Juniper Ridge landfill.

        Southbridge.    On November 25, 2003, we acquired Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park, Inc. ("Southbridge Recycling and Disposal"). Southbridge Recycling and Disposal has a contract with the Town of Southbridge, Massachusetts to maintain and operate a 13-acre C&D recycling facility and a 52-acre landfill currently permitted to accept residuals from the recycling facility and a limited amount of municipal solid waste. In June 2008 we received approval from the Southbridge, Massachusetts Board of Health to amend the landfill site assignment allowing the site to receive municipal solid waste from communities other than Southbridge, and to expand the annual permit to 405,600 tons per year from 180,960 tons per year. The operation of the facility as outlined in the amended agreement remains subject to the receipt of necessary permits, one of which is subject to appeal by citizens groups. See Note 13(b) to our Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

        Maine Energy Waste-to-Energy Facility.    We own a waste-to-energy facility, Maine Energy, which generates electricity by processing non-hazardous solid waste. This waste-to-energy facility provides us with important additional disposal capacity and generates power for sale. The facility receives solid waste from municipalities under long-term waste handling agreements and also receives raw materials from commercial and private waste haulers and municipalities with short-term contracts, as well as from our collection operations. Maine Energy is contractually required to sell all of the electricity generated at its facility to Florida Power and Light, an electric utility, and guarantees 100% of its net electric generating capacity to FPL Energy Power Marketing, Inc. See Note 13(e) to our Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

        Hyland.    The Hyland landfill, located in Angelica, New York, serves certain Western region wastesheds located throughout western New York. The facility is permitted to accept residential, commercial and municipal solid waste, construction & demolition debris and special waste. The site consists of approximately 624 acres, which represents considerable additional expansion capabilities. A permit for future expansion was issued in December 2006 for approximately 11 million cubic yards. The landfill is currently permitted to accept approximately 312,000 tons annually. The Hyland site

10


Table of Contents


commenced operation in late August 2008 of a landfill gas to energy facility which has the capacity to generate 4.8 mW/hr.

        Ontario.    We have entered into a 25-year operation, management and lease agreement with the Ontario County Board of Supervisors for the Ontario County Landfill, which is located in the Town of Seneca, New York. We commenced operations on December 8, 2003. This landfill serves the central New York wasteshed and is strategically situated to accept long haul volume from both Eastern and downstate markets. The site consists of approximately 380 total acres with additional potential expansions amounting to an estimated 13.5 million tons. During fiscal year 2008 we successfully requested and received a minor modification to increase our annual allowance of placed tons over the original permit of 612,000 tons to 917,604 tons. The Ontario site also houses a single stream recycling facility, a glass beneficiating plant and a landfill-gas-to energy plant which has the capacity to generate 5.6 mW/hr.

        Hakes.    The Hakes construction and demolition landfill, located in Campbell, New York, is permitted to accept only construction and demolition material. The landfill serves the principal rural wastesheds of western New York. During fiscal year 2008 we successfully requested and received a minor modification to increase our annual allowance of placed tons over the original permit of 306,000 tons to 457,164 tons.

        Chemung.    We have entered into a 25-year operation, management and lease agreement with Chemung County for certain facilities located within the county utilized in the collection, management and disposal of solid waste including the Chemung County Landfill, which is located in the Town of Chemung, New York. We commenced operations on September 19, 2005. This landfill serves the central and southern tier New York wastesheds and is strategically situated to accept long haul volume from both eastern and downstate markets. The site consists of approximately 38 active acres permitted to accept 120,000 tons of municipal solid waste per year and 12.8 active acres permitted to accept 20,500 tons of construction and demolition material per year. We are pursuing an increase in annual permitted volumes through a minor modification to the existing permit which could expand municipal solid waste volumes by 60,000 tons annually. The landfill has further expansion capabilities of an additional 25 acres and an estimated 5.1 million cubic yards, representing approximately 3.1 million tons.

        In April 2005, we started operations at the Worcester, Massachusetts landfill, a closure project with approximately 1.7 million tons of available capacity as of April 30, 2009. In January 2006, we assumed the closure contract for this landfill. In addition, in the second quarter of fiscal year 2009, as part of a planned closure, we ceased operations at the Colebrook facility and began the process of capping and closing the site. The Worcester landfill is not included in the above table of remaining landfill capacity.

        In addition, we own and/or operated six unlined landfills and two lined landfills which are not currently in operation. All of these landfills have been closed and capped to applicable environmental regulatory standards by us.

Operating Segments

        We manage our solid waste operations on a geographic basis through three regions, which we designate as the Eastern, Central and Western regions and which each include a full range of solid waste services, and FCR, which comprises our larger-scale non-solid waste recycling and our brokerage operations (See Note 22 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 of this Form 10-K for a summary of revenues, profitability and total assets of our four operating segments).

        Within each geographic region, we organize our solid waste services around smaller areas that we refer to as "wastesheds." A wasteshed is an area that comprises the complete cycle of activities in the

11


Table of Contents


solid waste services process, from collection to transfer operations and recycling to disposal in either landfills or waste-to-energy facilities, some of which may be owned and operated by third parties. We typically operate several divisions within each wasteshed, each of which provides a particular service, such as collection, recycling, disposal or transfer. Each of these divisions operates interdependently with the other divisions within the wasteshed. Each wasteshed generally operates autonomously from adjoining wastesheds.

        Through its 23 material recycling facilities and 1 transfer station, FCR services 22 anchor contracts, which generally have an original term of five to ten years and expire at various times between 2009 and 2028. The terms of each of the contracts vary, but all of the contracts provide that the municipality or a third party delivers materials to our facility. These contracts may include a minimum volume guarantee by the municipality. We also have service agreements with individual towns and cities and commercial customers, including small solid waste companies and major competitors that do not have processing capacity within a specific geographic region. The 23 FCR material recycling facilities process recyclables collected from approximately 3.1 million households, representing a population of approximately 11.3 million people.

        The following table provides information about each solid waste region and FCR (as of May 31, 2009 except revenue information, which is for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2009).

 
  Eastern
Region
  Central
Region
  Western
Region
  FCR
Recycling
 

Revenues (in millions)

  $182.8   $116.5   $105.9   $ 114.3  

Solid waste collection operations

         12          10          10      

Transfer stations

           6          14          10     1  

Recycling facilities

           7            5            2     23  

Subtitle D landfills

  Pine Tree
Juniper Ridge
Southbridge
  NCES
Waste USA
Clinton County
  Hyland
Ontario
Chemung
     

Other disposal facilities(1)

  Maine Energy     Hakes      

(1)
In addition to the disposal facilities shown above we operate the Worcester, Massachusetts landfill, a closure project with approximately 3.1 million tons of available capacity as of April 30, 2009.

Eastern region

        The Eastern region consists of wastesheds located in Maine and, subsequent to the integration of the South Eastern region into the North Eastern region in February 2009, the assets located in eastern Massachusetts. The Maine wastesheds generally have been affected by the regional constraints on disposal capacity imposed by the public policies of New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts which have, over the past ten years, either limited new landfill development or precluded development of additional capacity from existing landfills. Consequently, the Eastern region relies more heavily on non-landfill waste-to-energy disposal capacity than other regions. Maine Energy is one of four waste-to-energy facilities in the State of Maine.

        We entered the State of Maine in 1996 with the purchase of the assets comprising New England Waste Services of ME, Inc. in Hampden, Maine, which included the Pine Tree landfill. The acquisition of KTI in 1999 significantly improved disposal capacity in this region as the acquisition included the Maine Energy waste-to-energy facility and provided an alternative internalization option for solid waste assets in eastern Massachusetts. In 2004, the Company obtained the right to operate the Juniper Ridge landfill under a 30-year agreement with the State of Maine.

        We entered eastern Massachusetts in fiscal year 2000 with the acquisition of assets that were divested by Allied Waste Industries (prior to its merger with Republic Services, Inc.) and through the

12


Table of Contents


acquisition of smaller independent operators. In this market, the Company relies to a large extent on third party disposal capacity. The Company believes that there is a greater opportunity to increase internalization rates and operating efficiencies in eastern Massachusetts facilities through the operating contract with the Town of Southbridge to operate the Southbridge landfill, which is currently permitted to accept 156,000 tons of construction and demolition material and 24,960 tons of municipal solid waste annually. In June 2008 we received a positive vote from the Southbridge, Massachusetts Board of Health to amend the landfill site assignment allowing the site to receive municipal solid waste from communities other than Southbridge, and to expand the annual permit to 405,600 tons per year from 180,960 tons per year. The operation of the facility as outlined in the amended agreement remains subject to the receipt of necessary permits, one of which is subject to appeal by citizens groups.

Central region

        The Central region consists of wastesheds located in Vermont, north and south western New Hampshire and eastern New York. The portion of New York served by the Central region includes Clinton (operation of the Clinton County landfill), Franklin, Essex, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Rennselaer and Albany counties. Our Waste USA landfill in Coventry, Vermont is one of only two operating permitted Subtitle D landfills in Vermont, and our NCES landfill in Bethlehem, New Hampshire is one of only six operating permitted Subtitle D landfills in New Hampshire. In the Central region, there are a total of 13 operating permitted Subtitle D landfills.

        The Central region has become our most mature operating platform, as we have operated in this region since our inception in 1975. We have achieved a high degree of vertical integration of the waste stream in this region, resulting in stable cash flow performance. In the Central region, we also have a market leadership position.

        As our most mature region, we believe that future operating efficiencies will be driven primarily by improving our core operating efficiencies, offering increased recycling capabilities such as single stream processing, and providing enhanced customer service.

Western region

        The Western region consists of wastesheds in upstate New York (which includes Ithaca, Elmira, Oneonta, Lowville, Potsdam, Geneva, Auburn, Dunkirk, Jamestown and Olean). We entered the Western region with our acquisition of Superior Disposal Services, Inc.'s business in 1997 and have expanded in this region largely through tuck-in acquisitions and internal growth. Our collection operations include leadership positions in nearly every rural market in the Western region outside of larger metropolitan markets such as Syracuse, Rochester and Albany.

        While we have achieved strong market positions in this region, we remain focused on increasing our vertical integration through expansion of annual permitted capacity at existing landfills and densification of hauling businesses that can internalize waste to our landfills. In the Western region, where we own the Hyland and Hakes landfills and operate the Ontario and Chemung County landfills, our strategy is to expand annual landfill permits to drive return on invested capital and cash flows. Future opportunities may exist to replicate our strategic partnerships with county and municipal governments for the operation and/or utilization of their landfills, and, subject to capital allocation, we expect that we would pursue these opportunities if it enhances our shareholder returns.

FCR Recycling

        Fairfield County Recycling, LLC, or FCR, is one of the largest processors and marketers of recycled materials in the eastern United States, comprising 23 material recycling facilities that process and then market recyclable materials that municipalities and commercial customers deliver to it under long-term contracts. Seven of FCR's facilities are leased, nine are owned and seven are operated under contracts. In fiscal year 2009, FCR processed and marketed approximately 1.2 million tons of recyclable

13


Table of Contents


materials. FCR's facilities are principally located in key urban markets, consisting of Connecticut, North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

        A significant portion of the material provided to FCR is delivered pursuant to 22 anchor contracts, which are long-term contracts. The anchor contracts generally have an original term of five to ten years and expire at various times between 2009 and 2028. The terms of each of the contracts vary, but all of the contracts provide that the municipality or a third party delivers materials to our facility. In approximately one-third of the contracts, the municipalities agree to deliver a guaranteed tonnage and the municipality pays a fee for the amount of any shortfall from the guaranteed tonnage if certain other conditions are not met. Under the terms of the individual contracts, we charge the municipality a fee for each ton of material delivered to us. Some contracts contain revenue sharing arrangements under which the municipality receives a specified percentage of the revenues from the sale by us of the recovered materials.

        FCR derives a significant portion of its revenues from the sale of recyclable materials. The purchase and sale prices of recyclable materials, particularly newspaper, corrugated containers, plastics, ferrous and aluminum, can fluctuate based upon market conditions. We use long-term supply contracts with customers with floor price arrangements to reduce the commodity risk for certain recyclables, particularly newspaper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum and metals. Under such contracts, we obtain a guaranteed minimum price for the recyclable materials along with a commitment to receive additional amounts if the current market price rises above the floor price. The contracts are generally with large domestic companies that use the recyclable materials in their manufacturing process, such as paper, packaging and consumer goods companies. In fiscal year 2009, 53% of the revenues from the sale of recyclable materials of the residential recycling segment were derived from sales under long-term contracts with floor prices. We also hedge against fluctuations in the commodity prices of recycled paper and corrugated containers in order to mitigate the variability in cash flows and earnings generated from the sales of recycled materials at floating prices. As of April 30, 2009, we were party to 25 commodity hedge contracts. These contracts expire between June 2009 and December 2011.

GreenFiber Cellulose Insulation Joint Venture

        We are a 50% partner in US GreenFiber LLC ("GreenFiber"), a joint venture with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation. GreenFiber, which we believe is the largest manufacturer of high quality cellulose insulation for use in residential dwellings and manufactured housing, was formed through the combination of our cellulose operations, which we acquired in our acquisition of KTI, with those of Louisiana-Pacific. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, GreenFiber has a national manufacturing and distribution capability and sells to contractors, manufactured home builders and retailers, including Home Depot, Inc. GreenFiber has 12 manufacturing facilities, located in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Delphos, Ohio; Elkwood, Virginia; Norfolk, Nebraska; Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California; Tampa, Florida; Albany, New York; Waco, Texas; East St. Louis, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah. GreenFiber utilizes a hedging strategy to help stabilize its exposure to fluctuating newsprint costs, which generally represent approximately 35% of its raw material costs, and is a major purchaser of FCR Recycling fiber material produced at various facilities. The Company accounts for its investment in GreenFiber under the equity method of accounting.

RecycleRewards

        In January 2006, the Company acquired an interest in the common stock of RecycleBank, LLC ("RecycleBank"), a company that markets an incentive based recycling service for total consideration of $3.0 million. During fiscal year 2007, RecycleBank borrowed $2.0 million from the Company under a convertible loan agreement. In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the Company converted this note to equity thereby increasing the Company's investment. Additional investments in

14


Table of Contents


RecycleBank were made during fiscal year 2007 increasing the Company's total common stock ownership interest to 20.5% at April 30, 2007. In April 2008, RecycleBank completed an equity offering to third party investors that reduced the Company's common share interest to 16.2%. As a result of an internal reorganization by RecycleBank, the Company's investment is now held in RecycleRewards, Inc. ("RecycleRewards") the parent entity of RecycleBank. The Company's investment in RecycleRewards amounted to $4.4 million at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively. Effective April 2008, the Company accounts for its investment in RecycleRewards under the cost method of accounting. Prior to April 2008 the Company accounted for this investment under the equity method of accounting.

Evergreen

        In April 2003, the Company acquired a 9.9% interest in Evergreen National Indemnity Company ("Evergreen") for total consideration of $5.3 million. In December, 2003, the Company acquired an additional 9.9% interest in Evergreen for total consideration of $5.3 million. The Company's investment in Evergreen amounted to $10.7 million at April 30, 2008 and 2009. The Company accounts for its investment in Evergreen under the cost method of accounting.

Competition

        The solid waste services industry is highly competitive. We compete for collection and disposal volume primarily on the basis of the quality, breadth and price of our services. From time to time, competitors may reduce the price of their services in an effort to expand market share or to win a competitively bid municipal contract. These practices may also lead to reduced pricing for our services or the loss of business. In addition, competition exists within the industry not only for collection, transportation and disposal volume, but also for potential acquisition candidates.

        The larger urban markets in which we compete are served by one or more of the large national solid waste companies, including Waste Management, Inc. and Republic Services, Inc., that may be able to achieve greater economies of scale than us. We also compete with a number of regional and local companies that offer competitive prices and quality service. In addition, we compete with operators of alternative disposal facilities, including incinerators, and with certain municipalities, counties and districts that operate their own solid waste collection and disposal facilities. Public sector facilities may have certain advantages over us due to the availability of user fees, charges or tax revenues and tax-exempt financing.

        The insulation industry is highly competitive and labor intensive. In our cellulose insulation manufacturing activities, GreenFiber, our joint venture with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, competes primarily with manufacturers of fiberglass insulation such as Owens Corning, Certain Teed Corporation and Johns Manville. These manufacturers have significant market shares and are substantially better capitalized than GreenFiber.

Marketing and Sales

        We have a coordinated marketing and sales strategy, which is formulated at the corporate level and implemented at the divisional level. We seek to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace by offering customers value-added resource management solutions and quality service. Our business strategy for over 30 years has been tied to creating a sustainable resource management model and we continue to emphasize these value-added services today.

        The sales and marketing organization has been realigned during the past three years to incorporate standardized pricing models, provide enhanced sales tools, and to further build Casella brand equity. The realigned sales program integrates: an updated sales incentive program tied to customer profitability, new sales, and account turnover; standardized pricing models for new and existing collection customers with profitability analysis at the account level; a restructured account turnover tracking system; and the introduction of a prospect database management system. The prospect

15


Table of Contents


database enables the sales force to identify and sell to new collection customers at a profitable level as well as increasing the density of existing routes. The prospect database is augmented by traditional sales techniques, such as leads developed from new building permits, business licenses and other public records.

        We market our services locally through division managers and direct sales representatives who focus on commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers. Maintenance of a local presence and identity is an important aspect of our marketing plan, and many of our managers are involved in local governmental, civic and business organizations. Our name and logo, or, where appropriate, that of our divisional operations, are displayed on our containers and trucks. We attend and make presentations at municipal and state conferences and advertise in governmental associations' membership publications. Additionally, each division generally advertises in the yellow pages and other local business print media that cover its service area.

Employees

        As of May 31, 2009, we employed approximately 2,393 people, including approximately 465 professionals or managers, sales, clerical, information systems or other administrative employees and approximately 1,928 employees involved in collection, transfer, disposal, recycling or other operations. Approximately 126 of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe relations with our employees are satisfactory.

Risk Management, Insurance and Performance or Surety Bonds

        We actively maintain environmental and other risk management programs that we believe are appropriate for our business. Our environmental risk management program includes evaluating existing facilities, as well as potential acquisitions, for environmental law compliance and operating procedures. We also maintain a worker safety program, which focuses on safe practices in the workplace. Operating practices at all of our operations are intended to reduce the possibility of environmental contamination enforcement actions and litigation.

        We carry a range of insurance intended to protect our assets and operations, including a commercial general liability policy and a property damage policy. A partially or completely uninsured claim against us (including liabilities associated with cleanup or remediation at our facilities), if successful and of sufficient magnitude, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Any future difficulty in obtaining insurance could also impair our ability to secure future contracts, which may be conditioned upon the availability of adequate insurance coverage.

        We are self insured for automobile and worker's compensation coverage. Our maximum exposure in fiscal 2009 under the worker's compensation plan was $1.0 million per individual event, after which reinsurance takes effect. Our maximum exposure under the automobile plan was $0.8 million per individual event, after which reinsurance takes effect.

        Municipal solid waste collection contracts and landfill closure and post-closure obligations may require performance or surety bonds, letters of credit or other means of financial assurance to secure contractual performance. While we have not experienced difficulty in obtaining these financial instruments, if we were unable to obtain these financial instruments in sufficient amounts or at acceptable rates we could be precluded from entering into additional municipal solid waste collection contracts or obtaining or retaining landfill operating permits.

        We hold a 19.9% ownership interest in Evergreen, a surety company which provides surety bonds to us to secure our contractual obligations for certain municipal solid waste collection contracts and landfill closure and post-closure obligations.

16


Table of Contents

Customers

        We provide our collection services to commercial, industrial and residential customers. A majority of our commercial and industrial collection services are performed under one-to-three-year service agreements, and fees are determined by such factors as collection frequency, type of equipment and containers furnished, the type, volume and weight of the solid waste collected, the distance to the disposal or processing facility and the cost of disposal or processing. Our residential collection and disposal services are performed either on a subscription basis (i.e., with no underlying contract) with individuals, or through contracts with municipalities, homeowners associations, apartment owners or mobile home park operators.

        Maine Energy is contractually required to sell all of the electricity generated at its facilities to Florida Power and Light, an electric utility, and guarantees 100% of its electricity generating capacity to FPL Energy Power Marketing, Inc., both pursuant to a contract that expires April 30, 2010.

        FCR provides recycling services to municipalities, commercial haulers and commercial waste generators within the geographic proximity of the processing facilities.

        Our cellulose insulation joint venture, GreenFiber, sells to contractors, manufactured home builders and retailers.

Raw Materials

        Maine Energy received approximately 16% of its solid waste in fiscal year 2009 from 17 Maine municipalities under long-term waste handling agreements. Maine Energy also receives raw materials from commercial and private waste haulers and municipalities with short-term contracts, as well as from our own collection operations.

        In fiscal year 2009, FCR received approximately 56% of its material under long-term agreements with municipalities. These contracts generally provide that all recyclables collected from the municipal recycling programs shall be delivered to a facility that is owned or operated by us. The quantity of material delivered by these communities is dependent on the participation of individual households in the recycling program.

        The primary raw material for our insulation joint venture is newspaper. In fiscal year 2009, GreenFiber received approximately 13% of the newspaper used by it from FCR. It purchased the remaining newspaper from municipalities, commercial haulers and paper brokers. The chemicals used to make the newspaper fire retardant are purchased from industrial chemical manufacturers located in the United States and South America.

Seasonality

        Our transfer and disposal revenues have historically been lower during the months of November through March. This seasonality reflects the lower volume of waste during the late fall, winter and early spring months primarily because:

        Because certain of our operating and fixed costs remain constant throughout the fiscal year, operating income is therefore impacted by a similar seasonality. In addition, particularly harsh weather conditions typically result in increased operating costs.

17


Table of Contents

        The recycling segment experiences increased volumes of newspaper in November and December due to increased newspaper advertising and retail activity during the holiday season. GreenFiber experiences lower sales from April through July due to lower retail activity.

Regulation

        We are subject to extensive and evolving federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations which have become increasingly stringent in recent years. The environmental regulations affecting us are administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and other federal, state and local environmental, zoning, health and safety agencies. Failure to comply with such requirements could result in substantial costs, including civil and criminal fines and penalties. Except as described in this Form 10-K, we believe that we are currently in substantial compliance with applicable federal, state and local environmental laws, permits, orders and regulations. Other than as disclosed herein, we do not currently anticipate any material environmental costs to bring our operations into compliance, although there can be no assurance in this regard in the future. We expect that our operations in the solid waste services industry will be subject to continued and increased regulation, legislation and regulatory enforcement actions. We attempt to anticipate future legal and regulatory requirements and to carry out plans intended to keep our operations in compliance with those requirements.

        In order to transport, process, incinerate, or dispose of solid waste, it is necessary for us to possess and comply with one or more permits from federal, state and/or local agencies. We must renew these permits periodically, and the permits may be modified or revoked by the issuing agency.

        The principal federal, state and local statutes and regulations applicable to our various operations are as follows:

        RCRA regulates the generation, treatment, storage, handling, transportation and disposal of solid waste and requires states to develop programs to ensure the safe disposal of solid waste. RCRA divides solid waste into two categories, hazardous and non-hazardous. Wastes are generally classified as hazardous if they (1) either (a) are specifically included on a list of hazardous wastes, or (b) exhibit certain characteristics defined as hazardous, and (2) are not specifically designated as non-hazardous. Wastes classified as hazardous under RCRA are subject to more extensive regulation than wastes classified as non-hazardous, and businesses that deal with hazardous waste are subject to regulatory obligations in addition to those imposed on handlers of non-hazardous waste.

        Among the wastes that are specifically designated as non-hazardous are household waste and "special" waste, including items such as petroleum contaminated soils, asbestos, foundry sand, shredder fluff and most non-hazardous industrial waste products.

        The EPA regulations issued under Subtitle C of RCRA impose a comprehensive "cradle to grave" system for tracking the generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes. Subtitle C regulations impose obligations on generators, transporters and disposers of hazardous wastes, and require permits that are costly to obtain and maintain for sites where those businesses treat, store or dispose of such material. Subtitle C requirements include detailed operating, inspection, training and emergency preparedness and response standards, as well as requirements for manifesting, record keeping and reporting, corrective action, facility closure, post-closure and financial responsibility. Most states have promulgated regulations modeled on some or all of the Subtitle C provisions issued by the EPA, and in many instances the EPA has delegated to those states the principal role in regulating

18


Table of Contents


businesses which are subject to those requirements. Some state regulations impose different, additional obligations.

        We currently do not accept for transportation or disposal hazardous substances (as defined in CERCLA, discussed below) in concentrations or volumes that would classify those materials as hazardous wastes. However, we have transported hazardous substances in the past and very likely will transport and dispose of hazardous substances in the future, to the extent that materials defined as hazardous substances under CERCLA are present in consumer goods and in the non-hazardous waste streams of our customers.

        We do not accept hazardous wastes for incineration at our waste-to-energy facility. We typically test ash produced at our waste-to-energy facility on a regular basis; that ash generally does not contain hazardous substances in sufficient concentrations or volumes to result in the ash being classified as hazardous waste. However, it is possible that future waste streams accepted for incineration could contain elevated volumes or concentrations of hazardous substances or that legal requirements will change, and that the resulting incineration ash would be classified as hazardous waste.

        Leachate generated at our landfills and transfer stations is tested on a regular basis, and generally is not regulated as a hazardous waste under federal or state law. In the past, however, leachate generated from certain of our landfills has been classified as hazardous waste under state law, and there is no guarantee that leachate generated from our facilities in the future will not be classified under federal or state law as hazardous waste.

        In October 1991, the EPA adopted the Subtitle D regulations under RCRA governing solid waste landfills. The Subtitle D regulations, which generally became effective in October 1993, include siting restrictions, facility design standards, operating criteria, closure and post-closure requirements, financial assurance requirements, groundwater monitoring requirements, groundwater remediation standards and corrective action requirements. In addition, the Subtitle D regulations require that new landfill sites meet more stringent liner design criteria (typically, composite soil and synthetic liners or two or more synthetic liners) intended to keep leachate out of groundwater and have extensive collection systems to carry away leachate for treatment prior to disposal. Regulations generally require us to install groundwater monitoring wells at virtually all landfills we operate, to monitor groundwater quality and, indirectly, the effectiveness of the leachate collection systems. The Subtitle D regulations also require facility owners or operators to control emissions of landfill gas (including methane) generated at landfills exceeding certain regulatory thresholds. State landfill regulations must meet these requirements or the EPA will impose such requirements upon landfill owners and operators in that state. Each state also must adopt and implement a permit program or other appropriate system to ensure that landfills within the state comply with the Subtitle D regulatory criteria. Various states in which we operate or in which we may operate in the future have adopted regulations or programs as stringent as, or more stringent than, the Subtitle D regulations.

        The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollutants into the "waters of the United States" from a variety of sources, including solid waste disposal sites and transfer stations, processing facilities and waste-to-energy facilities (collectively, "solid waste management facilities"). If run-off or collected leachate from our solid waste management facilities, or process or cooling waters generated at our waste-to-energy facility, is discharged into streams, rivers or other surface waters, the Clean Water Act would require us to apply for and obtain a discharge permit, conduct sampling and monitoring and, under certain circumstances, reduce the quantity of pollutants in such discharge. A permit also may be required if that run-off, leachate, or process or cooling water is discharged to a treatment facility that is owned by a local municipality. Numerous states have enacted regulations, which are equivalent to those issued under the Clean Water Act, but which also regulate the discharge of pollutants to groundwater.

19


Table of Contents

Finally, virtually all solid waste management facilities must comply with the EPA's storm water regulations, which regulate the discharge of impacted storm water to surface waters.

        CERCLA established a regulatory and remedial program intended to provide for the investigation and remediation of facilities where or from which a release of any hazardous substance into the environment has occurred or is threatened. CERCLA has been interpreted to impose retroactive strict, and under certain circumstances, joint and several, liability for investigation and cleanup of facilities on current owners and operators of the site, former owners and operators of the site at the time of the disposal of the hazardous substances, as well as the generators and certain transporters of the hazardous substances. In addition, CERCLA imposes liability for the costs of evaluating and addressing damage to natural resources. The costs of CERCLA investigation and cleanup can be very substantial. Liability under CERCLA does not depend upon the existence or disposal of "hazardous waste" as defined by RCRA, but can be based on the existence of any of more than 700 "hazardous substances" listed by the EPA, many of which can be found in household waste. In addition, the definition of "hazardous substances" in CERCLA incorporates substances designated as hazardous or toxic under the Federal Clean Water Act, Clear Air Act and Toxic Substances Control Act. If we were found to be a responsible party for a CERCLA cleanup, the enforcing agency could hold us, under certain circumstances, or any other responsible party, responsible for all investigative and remedial costs, even if others also were liable. CERCLA also authorizes EPA to impose a lien in favor of the United States upon all real property subject to, or affected by, a remedial action for all costs for which a party is liable. CERCLA provides a responsible party with the right to bring a contribution action against other responsible parties for their allocable share of investigative and remedial costs. Our ability to get others to reimburse us for their allocable share of such costs would be limited by our ability to identify and locate other responsible parties and prove the extent of their responsibility and by the financial resources of such other parties.

        The Clean Air Act, generally through state implementation of federal requirements, regulates emissions of air pollutants from certain landfills based upon the date the landfill was constructed and the annual volume of emissions. The EPA has promulgated new source performance standards regulating air emissions of certain regulated pollutants (methane and non-methane organic compounds) from municipal solid waste landfills. Landfills located in areas where levels of regulated pollutants exceed certain thresholds may be subject to even more extensive air pollution controls and emission limitations. In addition, the EPA has issued standards regulating the disposal of asbestos-containing materials under the Clean Air Act.

        The EPA is focusing on the emissions of greenhouse gases ("GHG") and their potential role in climate change. EPA recently proposed a mandatory GHG reporting system for certain activities, including landfills, if GHG emissions are above threshold levels. EPA also has proposed a finding relating to GHG emissions that may result in the promulgation of GHG air quality standards and might require us to install systems to control those emissions. The adoption of those and other laws and regulations, which may include the imposition of fees or taxes, could adversely affect our collection and disposal operations. Additionally, certain of the states in which we operate are contemplating air pollution control regulations relating to GHG that may be more stringent than regulations EPA may promulgate. Changing environmental regulations could require us to take any number of actions, including the purchase of emission allowances or installation of additional pollution control technology, and could make some operations less profitable, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

20


Table of Contents

        Congress also is considering various options, including a cap and trade system, which could impose a limit on and establish a pricing mechanism for GHG emission allowances. There also is increasing pressure for the United States to join international efforts to control GHG emissions.

        The Clean Air Act regulates emissions of air pollutants from our waste-to-energy facility and certain of our processing facilities. The EPA has enacted standards that apply to those emissions. It is possible that the EPA, or a state where we operate, will enact additional or different emission standards in the future.

        All of the federal statutes described above authorize lawsuits by private citizens to enforce certain provisions of the statutes. In addition to a penalty award to the United States, some of those statutes authorize an award of attorney's fees to private parties successfully advancing such an action.

        OSHA establishes employer responsibilities and authorizes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promulgate occupational health and safety standards, including the obligation to maintain a workplace free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious injury, to comply with adopted worker protection standards, to maintain certain records, to provide workers with required disclosures and to implement certain health and safety training programs. Various of those promulgated standards may apply to our operations, including those standards concerning notices of hazards, safety in excavation and demolition work, the handling of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, and worker training and emergency response programs.

        Each state in which we now operate or may operate in the future has laws and regulations governing the generation, storage, treatment, handling, processing, transportation, incineration and disposal of solid waste, water and air pollution and, in most cases, the siting, design, operation, maintenance, closure and post-closure maintenance of solid waste management facilities. In addition, many states have adopted statutes comparable to, and in some cases more stringent than, CERCLA. These statutes impose requirements for investigation and remediation of contaminated sites and liability for costs and damages associated with such sites, and some authorize the state to impose liens to secure costs expended addressing contamination on property owned by responsible parties. Some of those liens may take priority over previously filed instruments. Furthermore, many municipalities also have ordinances, laws and regulations affecting our operations. These include zoning and health measures that limit solid waste management activities to specified sites or conduct, flow control provisions that direct the delivery of solid wastes to specific facilities or to facilities in specific areas, laws that grant the right to establish franchises for collection services and then put out for bid the right to provide collection services, and bans or other restrictions on the movement of solid wastes into a municipality.

        Certain permits and approvals may limit the types of waste that may be accepted at a landfill or the quantity of waste that may be accepted at a landfill during a given time period. In addition, certain permits and approvals, as well as certain state and local regulations, may limit a landfill to accepting waste that originates from specified geographic areas or seek to restrict the importation of out-of-state waste or otherwise discriminate against out-of-state waste. Generally, restrictions on importing out-of-state waste have not withstood judicial challenge. However, from time to time federal legislation is proposed which would allow individual states to prohibit the disposal of out-of-state waste or to limit the amount of out-of-state waste that could be imported for disposal and would require states, under certain circumstances, to reduce the amounts of waste exported to other states. Although such legislation has not been passed by Congress, if this or similar legislation is enacted, states in which we operate landfills could limit or prohibit the importation of out-of-state waste. Such actions could

21


Table of Contents


materially and adversely affect the business, financial condition and results of operations of any of our landfills within those states that receive a significant portion of waste originating from out-of-state.

        Certain states and localities may, for economic or other reasons, restrict the export of waste from their jurisdiction, or require that a specified amount of waste be disposed of at facilities within their jurisdiction. In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected as unconstitutional, and therefore invalid, a local ordinance that sought to limit waste going out of the locality by imposing a requirement that the waste be delivered to a particular privately-owned facility. However, on April 30, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a U.S. District Court ruling that the flow control regulations in Oneida and Herkimer Counties in New York requiring trash haulers to use publicly-owned transfer stations are constitutional, and therefore valid. Additionally, certain state and local jurisdictions continue to seek to enforce such restrictions. Further, some proposed federal legislation would allow states and localities to impose flow restrictions. Those restrictions could reduce the volume of waste going to landfills or transfer stations in certain areas, which may materially adversely affect our ability to operate our facilities and/or affect the prices we can charge for certain services. Those restrictions also may result in higher disposal costs for our collection operations. In sum, flow control restrictions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

        There has been an increasing trend at the federal, state and local levels to mandate or encourage both waste reduction at the source and waste recycling, and to prohibit or restrict the disposal in landfills of certain types of solid wastes, including yard wastes and leaves, beverage containers, newspapers, household appliances and batteries. Regulations reducing the volume and types of wastes available for transport to and disposal in landfills could affect our ability to operate our landfill facilities.

        Our waste-to-energy facility has been certified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a "qualifying small power production facility" under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, as amended ("PURPA"). PURPA exempts qualifying facilities from most federal and state laws governing electric utility rates and financial organization, and generally requires electric utilities to purchase electricity generated by qualifying facilities at a price equal to the utility's full "avoided cost."

22


Table of Contents

Executive Officers and Other Key Employees of the Company

        Our executive officers and other key employees and their respective ages as of May 31, 2009 are as follows:

Name
  Age   Position

Executive Officers

         

John W. Casella

   
58
 

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary

Paul A. Larkin

    44   President and Chief Operating Officer

John S. Quinn

    50   Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

James W. Bohlig

    62   Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer, President of Renewables Group and Director

Other Key Employees

         

Timothy A. Cretney

   
45
 

Regional Vice President

Christopher M. DesRoches

    51   Vice President, Selection and Training

Sean P. Duffy

    49   Regional Vice President

Joseph S. Fusco

    45   Vice President, Communications

Gerald Gormley

    60   Vice President, Human Resources

William Hanley

    55   Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Larry Lackey

    48   Vice President, Permitting, Compliance and Environmental

Brian G. Oliver

    47   Regional Vice President

Eric Reibsane

    39   Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Alan N. Sabino

    49   Regional Vice President

David L. Schmitt

    58   Vice President, General Counsel

Gary R. Simmons

    59   Vice President, Fleet Management

Michael J. Viani

    54   Vice President, Business Development

        John W. Casella has served as Chairman of our Board of Directors since July 2001 and as our Chief Executive Officer since 1993. Mr. Casella served as President from 1993 to July 2001 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1993 to December 1999. In addition, Mr. Casella has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of Casella Waste Management, Inc. since 1977. Mr. Casella is also an executive officer and director of Casella Construction, Inc., a company owned by Mr. Casella and Douglas R. Casella. Mr. Casella has been a member of numerous industry-related and community service-related state and local boards and commissions including the Board of Directors of the Associated Industries of Vermont, The Association of Vermont Recyclers, Vermont State Chamber of Commerce and the Rutland Industrial Development Corporation. Mr. Casella has also served on various state task forces, serving in an advisory capacity to the Governors of Vermont and New Hampshire on solid waste issues. Mr. Casella holds an Associate of Science in Business Management from Bryant & Stratton University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from Castleton State College. Mr. Casella is the brother of Douglas R. Casella, a member of our Board of Directors.

        Paul A. Larkin has served as our President and Chief Operating Officer since January 2008. From June 1998 until he joined us, Mr. Larkin served in a number of operating capacities for Office Depot, Inc., including, from 2007 through 2008 as Vice President for international strategy, from 2005 to 2007 as Regional Vice President of retail stores responsible for overseeing $1.0 billion of sales, and from 2000 to 2005 as Vice President of supply chain and inventory management. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Larkin was the Director of Logistics for AutoNation USA, Inc. From 1987 to 1996, Mr. Larkin served in the United States Army in a number of command and staff positions culminating as Aide de

23


Table of Contents


Camp for the Director of Logistics, United States Atlantic Command. Mr. Larkin received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark University.

        John S. Quinn has served as our Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since January 2009. From 2001 until he joined us, Mr. Quinn spent eight years in a number of finance capacities for Allied Waste Industries, Inc. (now Republic Services, Inc.), including, from 2005 through 2008 as Senior Vice President of Finance, from 2006 through 2007 as Senior Vice President of Finance, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer, from 2003 through 2006 as Vice President of Financial Analysis and Planning, and from 2001 through 2003 as Assistant Controller. From 1987 through 2001, Mr. Quinn worked for Waste Management in a number of finance and operational roles, most recently as the European Finance Director for Waste Management Services International. Prior to joining Waste Management, Mr. Quinn worked from 1983 through 1987 for a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company in various finance and treasury roles. Mr. Quinn received his bachelor of commerce, accounting and economics degree from the University of Toronto, and he received his MBA from York University. Mr. Quinn is a chartered management accountant.

        James W. Bohlig has served as our Chief Development Officer and President of the Renewable Group since January 2008. Mr. Bohlig also served as President from July 2001 to January 2008, Chief Operating Officer from 1993 to January 2008, and as Senior Vice President from 1993 to July 2001. Mr. Bohlig has served as a member of our Board of Directors since 1993. From 1989 until he joined us, Mr. Bohlig was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Russell Corporation, a general contractor and developer based in Rutland, Vermont. Mr. Bohlig is a licensed professional engineer. Mr. Bohlig holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Chemistry from the U.S. Naval Academy, and is a graduate of the Columbia University Executive Program in Business Administration.

        Timothy A. Cretney has served as our Western Regional Vice President since May 2002. From January 1997 to May 2002 he served as Regional Controller for our Western region. From August 1995 to January 1997, Mr. Cretney was Treasurer and Vice President of Superior Disposal Services, Inc., a waste services company which we acquired in January 1997. From 1992 to 1995, he was General Manager of the Binghamton, New York office of Laidlaw Waste Systems, Inc. and from 1989 to 1992 he was Central New York Controller of Laidlaw Waste Systems. Mr. Cretney holds a B.A. in Accounting from State University of New York College at Brockport.

        Christopher M. DesRoches has served as our Vice President, Selection and Training since June 2005. From November 1996 to June 2005, Mr. DesRoches served as our Vice President, Sales and Marketing. From January 1989 to November 1996, he was a Regional Vice President of Sales for Waste Management, Inc. Mr. DesRoches is a graduate of Arizona State University.

        Sean P. Duffy has served as our FCR Regional Vice President since December 1999. Since December 1999, Mr. Duffy has also served as Vice President of FCR, Inc., which he co-founded in 1983 and which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of ours in December 1999. From May 1983 to December 1999, Mr. Duffy served in various capacities at FCR, Inc., including, most recently, as President. From May 1998 to May 2001, Mr. Duffy also served as President of FCR Plastics, Inc., a subsidiary of FCR, Inc.

        Joseph S. Fusco has served as our Vice President, Communications since January 1995. From January 1991 through January 1995, Mr. Fusco was self-employed as a corporate and political communications consultant. Mr. Fusco is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany.

        Gerald Gormley has served as our Vice President, Human Resources since August 1999. From 1993 through 1999 Mr. Gormley served as Vice President, Human Resources for SKI, LTD. Mr. Gormley holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Connecticut and a Masters degree from Lehigh University.

24


Table of Contents

        William Hanley has served as our Vice-President, Sales and Marketing since June 2005. From 2001 until June 2005, Mr. Hanley served as Vice-President, General Sales Manager of Waste Industries, USA. From 1994-2001, he held various sales management positions for Waste Management, Inc and predecessor companies. Mr. Hanley is a graduate of Clarion State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

        Larry B. Lackey has served as our Vice President, Permitting, Compliance and Engineering since 1995. From 1993 to 1995, Mr. Lackey served as our Manager of Permits, Compliance and Engineering. From 1984 to 1993, Mr. Lackey was an Associate Engineer for Dufresne-Henry, Inc., an engineering consulting firm. Mr. Lackey is a graduate of Vermont Technical College.

        Brian G. Oliver has served as our North Eastern Regional Vice President since June 2004. From April 1998 to June 2004 he served as our Eastern Regional Controller. From June 1996 to April 1998, Mr. Oliver served as Division Controller of two Vermont operations. Mr. Oliver holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bryant College and also holds a Masters degree from St. Michael's College.

        Eric Reibsane has served as our Vice President and Chief Information Officer since May 2007. From 2000 to 2007, Mr. Reisbane served as Chief Information Officer for the Asplundh Tree Expert Company. Mr. Reibsane holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management from Saint Leo College.

        Alan N. Sabino has served as our Central Regional Vice President since July 1996. From 1995 to July 1996, Mr. Sabino served as a Division President for Waste Management, Inc. From 1985 to 1994, he served as Region Operations Manager for Chambers Development Company, Inc., a waste management company. Mr. Sabino is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University.

        David L. Schmitt has served as our Vice President and General Counsel since May 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Schmitt was President of his privately held consulting firm, and further served from 2002 until 2005 as Vice President and General Counsel of BioEnergy International, LLC. He served from 1995 until 2001, as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Bradlees, Inc., a large box retailer in the northeastern United States, and from 1986 through 1990, as Vice President and General Counsel of Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University, and his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Duquesne University School of Law.

        Gary R. Simmons has served as our Vice President, Fleet Management since May 1997. From December 1996 to May 1997, Mr. Simmons was the owner of GRS Consulting, a waste industry consulting firm. From 1995 to December 1996, Mr. Simmons served as National and Regional Fleet Service Manager for USA Waste Services, Inc., a waste management company. From 1977 to 1995, Mr. Simmons served in various fleet maintenance and management positions for Chambers Development Company, Inc.

        Michael J. Viani has served as Vice President, Business Development since 1995. From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Viani served as Manager of Business Development with Consumat Sanco, Inc., the owner of the Company's NCES landfill, which the Company purchased in 1994. Mr. Viani is a graduate of Middlebury College and of the University of Massachusetts.

Available Information

        Our internet website is http://www.casella.com. We make available, through our website free of charge, our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports filed pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). We make these reports available

25


Table of Contents


through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such materials with or furnish it to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. The information found on our website is not part of this or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC.

        You may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding the Casella and other issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The SEC's Internet website address is http://www.sec.gov.

ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS

        The following important factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and presented elsewhere by management from time to time.

We need to refinance our existing senior credit facility because it will mature by April 30, 2010 and because we will be in default under various covenants if we do not refinance it prior to July 31, 2009

        We are in the process of seeking to refinance our senior secured credit facility, which will mature on April 28, 2010. In anticipation of the possibility that we would be required to record non-cash charges, including a goodwill impairment charge, in our financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2009, we sought and received a waiver on June 3, 2009 from our lenders of various covenants under this credit facility which we would have otherwise breached as a result of these non-cash charges. The waiver is only applicable to our April 30, 2009 financial statements and as a result we will be in default under the credit facility if we do not complete our refinancing prior to July 31, 2009. The waiver does not include a waiver of our financial covenant compliance for the quarter ended July 31, 2009, and accordingly, if we are unable to complete our refinancing by that date, it is likely we will be in default under our senior secured credit facility and would seek another waiver. We anticipate that the refinancing will be effected through a combination of a revolving credit facility, term loan B and secured bond or other offering, depending on market conditions. As we would not be able to repay our senior secured credit facility obligations in accordance with the contractual terms without either refinancing this debt or obtaining additional debt or equity, our independent registered public accounting firm has issued an opinion on our fiscal year 2009 consolidated financial statements that includes an explanatory paragraph that expresses substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. Subject to the issuance of a revised audit opinion by our independent registered public accounting firm, we expect that this explanatory paragraph would be removed upon our successful refinancing. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully complete the refinancing.

Our outstanding indebtedness and borrowing costs may restrict our future operations and impact our ability to make future acquisitions.

        We have substantial indebtedness and expect our aggregate borrowing costs and indebtedness will increase as a result of the refinancing of our senior secured credit facility that we expect to close during the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. The payment of interest and principal due under our indebtedness will substantially reduce our net income and net cash flow from operations and will accordingly reduce funds available for other business purposes, including capital expenditures. In addition, the aggregate amount of indebtedness has limited and will continue to limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness, and thereby may limit our capital expenditures and place other restrictions and limitations on how we may operate our business, including the adoption of measures management considers to be in the best interests of our business. Covenants under any future debt agreements may be even more restrictive than those we are currently subject to.

26


Table of Contents

        In addition, our ability to make future business acquisitions, particularly those that would be financed solely or in part through cash from operations, will be curtailed due to our obligations to make payments or principal and interest on our outstanding indebtedness. We may not have sufficient capital resources, now or in the future, and may be unable to raise sufficient additional capital resources on terms satisfactory to us, if at all, in order to meet our capital requirements for such acquisitions. In addition, the terms of our indebtedness, include covenants that restrict our ability to make acquisitions while this indebtedness remains outstanding. To the extent that the amount of our outstanding indebtedness continues to have a negative impact on our stock price, using our Class A common stock as consideration will be less attractive for potential acquisition candidates. In the past, the trading price of our Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market has limited our willingness to use our equity as consideration and the willingness of sellers to accept our shares and as a result has limited, and could continue to limit, the size and scope of our acquisition program. If we are unable to pursue acquisitions that would enhance our business or operations, the potential growth of our business and revenues may be adversely effected.

Current economic conditions have adversely affected our revenues and our operating margin and may impact our efforts to pay our outstanding indebtedness.

        Our business has been affected by changes in economic conditions that are outside of our control, including reductions in business and consumer activity generally, and of construction spending in particular, which have significantly impacted the demand for our collection and landfill services, and declines in commodity prices, which have materially reduced our recycling revenues. As a result of the current economic environment we may also be adversely impacted by customers' inability to pay us in a timely manner, if at all, due to their financial difficulties, which could include bankruptcies. The availability of credit since the second half of calendar year 2008 has been severely limited, which has negatively affected business and consumer spending generally. If our customers do not have access to capital, we do not expect that our volumes will improve or that we will increase new business.

If our stock price were to fall below $1.00 and we do not meet the NASDAQ's continued listing requirements, our Class A common stock may be delisted.

        As of May 29, 2009, the closing bid price of our common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market was $2.50. In accordance with NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 4450(a)(5), if our closing bid price were to drop below $1.00 for a period of 30 consecutive business days, NASDAQ would provide written notification that our securities may be delisted unless the bid price of our common stock closes at $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days within 180 calendar days from of such notification.

        Given the current extraordinary market conditions, NASDAQ has suspended the bid price and market value of publicly held shares requirements through July 20, 2009. There can be no assurance that the bid price of our Class A common stock will be above $1.00 per share when the Rule is reinstated on July 20, 2009 or that the bid price of our Class A common stock will remain in excess of $1.00 per share thereafter. In addition, there can be no assurance that our Class A common stock will not be delisted due to a failure to meet other continued listing requirements even if the bid price of our Class A common stock remains in excess of $1.00 per share. Failure to maintain the listing of our Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market could have an adverse effect on a stockholder's ability to buy or sell shares of our Class A common stock, which could affect the value of their investment in our Class A common stock.

27


Table of Contents

We incur substantial costs to comply with environmental requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements and related litigation arising from an actual or perceived breach of such requirements could also subject us to fines, penalties, judgments and impose limits on our ability to expand.

        We are subject to potential liability and restrictions under environmental laws, including those relating to transportation, recycling, treatment, storage and disposal of wastes, discharges to air and water, and the remediation of contaminated soil, surface water and groundwater. The waste management industry has been and will continue to be subject to regulation, including permitting and related financial assurance requirements, as well as to attempts to further regulate the industry, including efforts to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases. Our waste-to-energy facility is subject to regulations limiting discharges of pollution into the air and water, and our solid waste operations are subject to a wide range of federal, state and, in some cases, local environmental, odor and noise and land use restrictions. If we are not able to comply with the requirements that apply to a particular facility or if we operate without necessary approvals or permits, we could be subject to civil, and possibly criminal, fines and penalties, and we may be required to spend substantial capital to bring an operation into compliance or to temporarily or permanently discontinue activities, and/or take corrective actions, possibly including removal of landfilled materials. Those costs or actions could be significant to us and impact our results of operations, cash flows, as well as our available capital. We may not have sufficient insurance coverage for our environmental liabilities, such coverage may not cover all of the potential liabilities we may be subject to and/or we may not be able to obtain insurance coverage in the future at reasonable expense, or at all.

        Environmental and land use laws also impact our ability to expand and, in the case of our solid waste operations, may dictate those geographic areas from which we must, or, from which we may not, accept waste. Those laws and regulations may limit the overall size and daily waste volume that may be accepted by a solid waste operation. If we are not able to expand or otherwise operate one or more of our facilities because of limits imposed under environmental laws, we may be required to increase our utilization of disposal facilities owned by third parties, which could reduce our revenues and/or operating margins. In addition, we are required to obtain governmental permits to operate our facilities, including all of our landfills. Even if we were to comply with applicable environmental law, there is no guarantee that we would be able to obtain the requisite permits from the applicable governmental authorities, and, even if we could, that any permit (and any existing permits we currently hold) will be extended or modified as needed to fit our business needs.

        We have historically grown through acquisitions and may make additional acquisitions from time to time in the future, and we have tried and will continue to try to evaluate and limit environmental risks and liabilities presented by businesses to be acquired prior to the acquisition. It is possible that some liabilities, including ones that may exist only because of the past operations of an acquired business, may prove to be more difficult or costly to address than we anticipate. It is also possible that government officials responsible for enforcing environmental laws may believe an issue is more serious than we expect, or that we will fail to identify or fully appreciate an existing liability before we become legally responsible to address it. Some of the legal sanctions to which we could become subject could cause the suspension or revocation of a needed permit, or prevent us from or delay us in obtaining or renewing permits to operate or expand our facilities or harm our reputation. In the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2009, we recorded environmental remediation charges totaling $4.4 million for the estimated cost of our share of work associated with a consent order issued by the State of New York to remediate a scrap yard and solid waste transfer station owned by one of our acquired subsidiaries. There can be no assurance that the cost of such cleanup or our share will not exceed our estimates.

        Our operating program depends on our ability to operate the landfills and transfer stations we own and lease. Localities where we operate generally seek to regulate some or all landfill and transfer station operations, including siting and expansion of operations. The laws adopted by municipalities in

28


Table of Contents


which our landfills and transfer stations are located may limit or prohibit the expansion of a landfill or transfer station as well as the amount of waste that we can accept at the landfill or transfer station on a daily, quarterly or annual basis and any effort to acquire or expand landfills and transfer stations typically involves a significant amount of time and expense. We may not be successful in obtaining new landfill or transfer station sites or expanding the permitted capacity of any of our current landfills and transfer stations. If we are unable to develop additional disposal and transfer station capacity, our ability to achieve economies from the internalization of our wastestream will be limited. If we fail to receive new landfill permits or renew existing permits, we may incur landfill asset impairment and other charges associated with accelerated closure.

        In addition to the costs of complying with environmental laws and regulations, we incur costs defending against environmental litigation brought by governmental agencies and private parties. We are, and also may be in the future, a defendant in lawsuits brought by parties alleging environmental damage, personal injury, and/or property damage, which may result in our payment of significant amount of liabilities.

        See also "Business—Regulation," and Note 13 in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

Our operations would be adversely affected if we do not have access to sufficient capital.

        Our ability to remain competitive and sustain our operations depends in part on cash flow from operations and our access to capital. We currently fund our cash needs primarily through cash from operations and borrowings under our senior secured credit facility. However, we will need to refinance this credit facility and we may require additional equity and/or debt financing from time to time, including for the payment of the principal and interest under the notes and our other indebtedness, and to fund our growth and operations. In addition, if we undertake more acquisitions or further expand our operations, our capital requirements may increase. We may not have access to the amount of capital that we require from time to time, on favorable terms, or at all.

Our results of operations could continue to be affected by changing prices or market requirements for recyclable materials.

        Our results of operations have been and may continue to be affected by changing purchase or resale prices or market requirements for recyclable materials. Our recycling business involves the purchase and sale of recyclable materials, some of which are priced on a commodity basis. The market for recyclable materials, particularly waste paper, plastic and ferrous and aluminum metals, has been affected by unprecedented price decreases since October 2008, resulting in a severe impact on our results of operations. Although we have begun to experience some recovery in commodity pricing, such prices will continue to be volatile due to numerous factors beyond our control. Although we seek to limit our exposure to fluctuating commodity prices through the use of hedging agreements, floor price contracts and long-term supply contracts with customers and have sought to mitigate commodity price fluctuations by reducing the prices we pay for purchased materials or increasing tip fees at our facilities, these fluctuations have in the past contributed, and may continue to contribute, to significant variability in our period-to-period results of operations.

Our business is geographically concentrated and is therefore subject to regional economic downturns.

        Our operations and customers are principally located in the eastern United States. Therefore, our business, financial condition and results of operations are susceptible to regional economic downturns and other regional factors, including state regulations and budget constraints and severe weather conditions. In addition, as we seek to expand in our existing markets, opportunities for growth within this region will become more limited and the geographic concentration of our business will increase.

29


Table of Contents


We may not be able to effectively compete in the highly competitive solid waste services industry.

        The solid waste services industry is highly competitive, has undergone a period of consolidation and requires substantial labor and capital resources. Some of the markets in which we compete or will likely compete are served by, or adjacent to markets served by, one or more of the large national or multinational solid waste companies, as well as numerous regional and local solid waste companies. Intense competition exists not only to provide services to customers, but also to acquire other businesses within each market. Some of our competitors have significantly greater financial and other resources than we do. From time to time, competitors may reduce the price of their services in an effort to expand market share or to win a competitively bid contract. These practices may either require us to reduce the pricing of our services or result in our loss of business.

        As is generally the case in our industry, some municipal contracts are subject to periodic competitive bidding. We may not be the successful bidder to obtain or retain these contracts. If we are unable to compete with larger and better capitalized companies, or to replace municipal contracts lost through the competitive bidding process with comparable contracts or other revenue sources within a reasonable time period our revenues would decrease and our operating results would be harmed.

        In our solid waste disposal markets we also compete with operators of alternative disposal and recycling facilities and with counties, municipalities and solid waste districts that maintain their own waste collection, recycling and disposal operations. These entities may have financial advantages because of their ability to charge user fees or similar charges, impose tax revenues and access tax-exempt financing.

        Our GreenFiber insulation manufacturing joint venture with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation competes with other parties, principally national manufacturers of fiberglass insulation, which have substantially greater resources than GreenFiber does, which they could use for product development, marketing or other purposes to our detriment.

Our results of operations and financial condition may be negatively affected if we inadequately accrue for capping, closure and post-closure costs or by the timing of these costs for our waste disposal facilities.

        We have material financial obligations relating to capping, closure and post-closure costs of our existing owned or operated landfills and will have material financial obligations with respect to any disposal facilities which we may own or operate in the future. Once the permitted capacity of a particular landfill is reached and additional capacity is not authorized, the landfill must be closed and capped, and post-closure maintenance started. We establish accruals for the estimated costs associated with such capping, closure and post-closure obligations over the anticipated useful life of each landfill on a per ton basis. We have provided and expect that we will in the future provide accruals for financial obligations relating to capping, closure and post-closure costs of our owned or operated landfills, generally for a term of 30 years after final closure of a landfill. Our financial obligations for capping, closure or post-closure costs could exceed the amounts accrued or amounts otherwise receivable pursuant to trust funds established for this purpose. Such a circumstance could result in significant unanticipated charges which would have an adverse impact on our business.

        In addition, the timing of any such capping, closure or post-closure costs, which exceed established accruals may further negatively impact our business. Since we will be unable to control the timing and amounts of such costs, we may be forced to delay investments or planned improvements in other parts of our business or we may be unable to meet applicable financial assurance requirements. Any of the foregoing would negatively impact our business and results of operations.

30


Table of Contents


Fluctuations in fuel costs could affect our operating expenses and results.

        The price and supply of fuel is unpredictable and fluctuates based on events beyond our control, including among others, geopolitical developments, supply and demand for oil and gas, actions by OPEC and other oil and gas producers, war and unrest in oil producing countries and regional production patterns. Because fuel is needed to run our fleet of trucks, price escalations for fuel increase our operating expenses. In fiscal year 2009, we used approximately 6.7 million gallons of diesel fuel in our solid waste operations. We have a fuel and oil recovery fee program, based on a fuel index, to recover increases in the cost of fuel, oil and lubricants arising from price volatility. This fee has been passed on to all of our customers where their contracts and competition conditions permit.

We could be precluded from entering into contracts or obtaining or maintaining permits or certain contracts if we are unable to obtain third party financial assurance to secure our contractual obligations.

        Public solid waste collection, recycling and disposal contracts, obligations associated with landfill closure and the operation and closure of our waste-to-energy facility may require performance or surety bonds, letters of credit or other means of financial assurance to secure our contractual performance. If we are unable to obtain the necessary financial assurance in sufficient amounts or at acceptable rates, we could be precluded from entering into additional municipal solid waste collection contracts or from obtaining or retaining landfill management contracts or operating permits. Any future difficulty in obtaining insurance could also impair our ability to secure future contracts conditioned upon having adequate insurance coverage. We currently obtain performance and surety bonds from Evergreen, in which we hold a 19.9% equity interest.

We may be required to write-off or impair capitalized costs or intangible assets in the future or we may incur restructuring costs or other charges, each of which could harm our earnings.

        In accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, we capitalize certain expenditures and advances relating to our acquisitions, pending acquisitions, landfills and development projects. In addition, we have considerable unamortized assets. From time to time in future periods, we may be required to incur a charge against earnings in an amount equal to any unamortized capitalized expenditures and advances, net of any portion thereof that we estimate will be recoverable, through sale or otherwise, relating to (1) any operation or other asset that is being sold, permanently shut down, impaired or has not generated or is not expected to generate sufficient cash flow, (2) any pending acquisition that is not consummated, (3) any landfill or development project that is not expected to be successfully completed, and (4) any goodwill or other intangible assets that are determined to be impaired.

        In response to such charges and costs and other market factors, we may be required to implement restructuring plans in an effort to reduce the size and cost of our operations and to better match our resources with our market opportunities. As a result of such actions, we would expect to incur restructuring expenses and accounting charges which may be material. Several factors could cause a restructuring to adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These include potential disruption of our operations, the development of our landfill capacity and recycling technologies and other aspects of our business. Employee morale and productivity could also suffer and result in unintended employee attrition. Any restructuring would require substantial management time and attention and may divert management from other important work. Moreover, we could encounter delays in executing any restructuring plans, which could cause further disruption and additional unanticipated expense.

        In accordance with SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets ("SFAS No. 142"), we performed our annual assessment of goodwill impairment at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year

31


Table of Contents


2009 by applying a fair value test to identified reporting segments. In the first step of testing for goodwill impairment, we estimated the fair value of each reporting unit, which we determined to be our four operating regions (Eastern, Western, Central and FCR). Effective February 1, 2009 we combined the management of the former South Eastern and North Eastern regions into the Eastern region. In conjunction with this combination, Maine Energy, which was formerly a separate reporting unit, was also combined into the Eastern region reporting unit. The estimated fair value of each reporting unit was compared with the carrying value of the net assets assigned to each reporting unit. Consistent with prior years, to determine the fair value of each of our reporting units as a whole we used discounted cash flow analyses and estimates about the future operations of each reporting unit. This analysis included a determination of an appropriate discount rate, the amount and timing of expected future cash flows and growth rates. The cash flows employed in our discounted cash flow analyses were based on financial forecasts developed internally by management. The discount rate used at the test date was our risk adjusted discount rate applicable for each reporting unit. The sum of the fair values of the reporting units was reconciled to our current market capitalization (based on our stock price) plus an estimated control premium. The step one test determined that the fair value of its Eastern region reporting segment was less than its carrying value. The reasons for this outcome were the continued deterioration of the equity and credit markets and the economy and their related impact on (i) our projected near term cash flows, due to lower projected landfill volumes and commodity pricing and (ii) an increase in our risk adjusted discount rate.

        We proceeded to a step two analysis, which included valuing the tangible and intangible assets and liabilities of the Eastern region to determine the implied fair value of goodwill. The result of this assessment indicated that the implied fair value of goodwill was zero. As a result we recognized a non-cash pre-tax charge of $55.3 million for the quarter ended April 30, 2009, to write-off the entire carrying value of the Eastern region goodwill.

Our revenues and our operating income experience seasonal fluctuations.

        Our transfer and disposal revenues have historically been lower during the months of November through March. This seasonality reflects the lower volume of waste during the late fall, winter and early spring months primarily because:

        Since certain of our operating and fixed costs remain constant throughout the fiscal year, operating income is impacted by a similar seasonality. In addition, particularly harsh weather conditions typically result in increased operating costs.

        Our recycling business experiences increased volumes of newspaper in November and December due to increased newspaper advertising and retail activity during the holiday season. GreenFiber experiences lower sales from April through July due to lower retail activity.

We may, in the future, attempt to divest or sell certain parts or components of our business to third parties which may result in lower than expected proceeds or losses or we may be unable to identify potential purchasers.

        From time to time in the future, we may sell or divest certain components of our business. These divestitures may be undertaken for a number of reasons, including as a result of a determination that the specified asset will provide inadequate returns to us, the asset no longer serves a strategic purpose

32


Table of Contents


in connection with our business or we determine the asset may be more valuable to a third party. The timing of such sales or divesture may not be entirely within our control. For example, we may need to quickly divest assets to satisfy immediate cash requirements, or we may be forced to sell certain assets prior to canvassing the market or at a time when market conditions for valuations or for financing for buyers are unfavorable, which would result in proceeds to us in an amount less than we expect or less than our assessment of the value of those assets. We also may not be able to identify buyers for certain of our assets, particularly given the difficulty that potential acquirers may currently face in obtaining financing, or we may face opposition from municipalities or communities to a disposition or the proposed buyer. Any sale of our assets could result in a loss on divestiture. Any of the foregoing would have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

        With respect to our Maine Energy facility, we are currently in negotiations with government officials regarding a possible publicly funded purchase of the facility. However, these discussions are in preliminary stages and there can be no assurance that this or any transactions can be completed. This governmental involvement has impacted our ability to divest of the facility to third parties.

We may engage in acquisitions in the future with the goal of complementing or expanding our business, including developing additional disposal capacity. However, we may be unable to complete these transactions and, if executed, these transactions may not improve our business or may pose significant risks and could have a negative effect on our operations.

        We have in the past, and we may in the future, make acquisitions in order to acquire or develop additional disposal capacity. These acquisitions may include "tuck-in" acquisitions within our existing markets, assets that are adjacent to or outside our existing markets, or larger, more strategic acquisitions. In addition, from time to time we may acquire businesses that are complementary to our core business strategy. We may not be able to identify suitable acquisition candidates. If we identify suitable acquisition candidates, we may be unable to negotiate successfully their acquisition at a price or on terms and conditions favorable to us. Furthermore, we may be unable to obtain the necessary regulatory approval to complete potential acquisitions.

        Our ability to achieve the benefits from any potential future acquisitions, including cost savings and operating efficiencies, depends in part on our ability to successfully integrate the operations of such acquired businesses with our operations. The integration of acquired businesses and other assets may require significant management time and company resources that would otherwise be available for the ongoing management of our existing operations.

        Any properties or facilities that we acquire may be subject to unknown liabilities, such as undisclosed environmental contamination, for which we would have no recourse, or only limited recourse, to the former owners of such properties. As a result, if a liability were asserted against us based upon ownership of an acquired property, we might be required to pay significant sums to settle it, which could adversely affect our financial results and cash flow.

        In addition, the process of acquiring, developing and permitting additional disposal capacity is lengthy, expensive and uncertain. Moreover, the disposal capacity at our existing landfills is limited by the remaining available volume at our landfills and annual, quarterly and/or daily disposal limits imposed by the various governmental authorities with jurisdiction over our landfills. We typically reach or approximate our daily, quarterly and annual maximum permitted disposal capacity at the majority of our landfills. If we are unable to develop or acquire additional disposal capacity, our ability to achieve economies from the internalization of our waste stream will be limited and we may be required to increase our utilization of disposal facilities owned by third parties, which could reduce our revenues and/or our operating margins.

33


Table of Contents


Efforts by labor unions to organize our employees could divert management attention and increase our operating expenses.

        Labor unions regularly make attempts to organize our employees, and these efforts will likely continue in the future. Certain groups of our employees have chosen to be represented by unions, and we have negotiated collective bargaining agreements with these groups. The negotiation of collective bargaining agreements could divert management attention and result in increased operating expenses and lower net income (or increased net loss). If we are unable to negotiate acceptable collective bargaining agreements, we may be subject to union-initiated work stoppages, including strikes. Depending on the type and duration of any labor disruptions, our revenues could decrease and our operating expenses could increase, which could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. As of May 31, 2009, approximately 5.3% of our employees involved in collection, transfer, disposal, recycling, waste-to-energy or other operations were represented by unions.

Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share and is held exclusively by John W. Casella and Douglas R. Casella.

        The holders of our Class B common stock are entitled to ten votes per share and the holders of our Class A common stock are entitled to one vote per share. At May 31, 2009, an aggregate of 988,200 shares of our Class B common stock, representing 9,882,000 votes, were outstanding, all of which were beneficially owned by John W. Casella, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, or by his brother, Douglas R. Casella, a member of our Board of Directors. Based on the number of shares of common stock outstanding on May 31, 2009, the shares of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock beneficially owned by John W. Casella and Douglas R. Casella represent approximately 32.3% of the aggregate voting power of our stockholders. Consequently, John W. Casella and Douglas R. Casella are able to substantially influence all matters for stockholder consideration.

ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

        None.

ITEM 2.    PROPERTIES

        At May 31, 2009, we owned and/or operated nine subtitle D landfills, one landfill permitted to accept construction and demolition materials, 31 transfer stations, 20 of which are owned, seven of which are leased and four of which are under operating contract, 32 solid waste collection facilities, 21 of which are owned and 11 of which are leased, 37 recyclable processing facilities, 16 of which are owned, 13 of which are leased and eight of which are under operating contracts, one waste-to-energy facility, and we utilized 13 corporate office and other administrative facilities, two of which are owned and 11 of which are leased (See Item 1—Business section of this Form 10-K for property information by operating segment).

ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

        The North Country Environmental Services, Inc. ("NCES") landfill located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire serves the wastesheds of New Hampshire and certain Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts wastesheds. The facility is currently permitted to accept municipal solid waste and C&D material. Since the purchase of this landfill in 1994, the Company has experienced opposition from the local town through enactment of restrictive local zoning and planning ordinances. In each case, in order to access additional capacity, the Company has been required to assert its rights through litigation in the New Hampshire court system. In August 2005, the Company received approval for additional permitted capacity within the original 51 acres, which the Company expects to last into fiscal year 2010. The

34


Table of Contents

Company believes that the site also includes, as expansion airspace, an additional 1.3 million cubic yards within the existing 51 acre footprint.

        A significant portion of NCES's Stage IV expansion as originally designed and approved by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services ("NHDES"), was to lie to the north of the 51 acres. With respect to expansion to the north of the 51 acres, the Supreme Court remanded four issues to the Superior Court for further proceedings. On April 25, 2005, the Superior Court rendered summary judgment in NCES's favor on two of the four issues, leaving the other two issues for trial. The two issues that were decided on summary judgment remain subject to appeal by the Town. In March of 2005, the Town adopted a new zoning ordinance that prohibited landfilling outside of a new zoning district which corresponded to the 51 acres. The Town then amended its pleadings to seek a declaration that the new ordinance was valid. The parties each filed motions for partial summary judgment. Following the Superior Court's decisions on those motions, the validity of the new ordinance remained subject to trial based on two defenses raised by NCES.

        On March 30, 2007, NCES applied to the NHDES for a permit modification under which all Stage IV capacity (denominated "Stage IV, Phase II") would be relocated within the 51 acres. That application was superseded by a new application, filed by NCES on November 30, 2007, that proposed to bring all berms along the perimeter of the landfill's footprint within the 51 acres as well. NCES sought a stay of the litigation on the ground that, if NHDES were to grant the permit modification, there would be no need for NCES to expand beyond the 51 acres for eight or more years, and the case could be dismissed as moot or unripe. The Superior Court granted the stay pending a decision by NHDES. NHDES denied the application on December 12, 2008. NCES filed an administrative appeal of this decision as well as a declaratory relief action challenging the legal grounds upon which NHDES relied in the decision. NCES also filed a revised application with NHDES on February 12, 2009 addressing one of the two issues NHDES identified as the bases for denying the November 30, 2007 application. NCES sought a renewal of the stay of the litigation on the same grounds upon which it sought and obtained a stay previously, and the Superior Court granted this motion on February 13, 2009.

        NHDES summarily denied the February 12, 2009 application on March 25, 2009. NCES has sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief requiring NHDES to resume consideration of the February 12, 2009 application. On June 10, 2009, the Superior Court issued a decision which denied the NHDES's motion to dismiss the NCES application for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and also denied NCES's motion for preliminary injunction. The Superior Court ordered that a hearing be scheduled for a permanent injunction as soon as the Superior Court docket allowed. NCES has also filed an administrative appeal of the March 25, 2009 decision. The Town has filed an enforcement action against NCES seeking the removal of certain ancillary landfill structures to the north of the 51 acres. NCES has answered and generally denied the allegations of the Town's petition.

        In the event that the Company is unsuccessful obtaining the permits, the Company would assess the need for a potential landfill impairment charge (the carrying value of the NCES landfill assets as of April 30, 2009 was approximately $6.2 million). The Company would also assess the need for additional closure and post-closure charges.

        The Company, on behalf of itself, its subsidiary FCR, LLC ("FCR"), and as a Majority Managing Member of Green Mountain Glass, LLC ("GMG"), initiated a declaratory judgment action against GR Technologies, Inc. ("GRT"), Anthony C. Lane and Robert Cameron Billmyer ("the Defendants") on June 8, 2007 to resolve issues raised by GRT as the minority member of GMG. The issues addressed in the action included exercise of management discretion, right to intellectual property, and other related disputes. The Defendants counterclaimed in May 2008 seeking unspecified damages on a variety of

35


Table of Contents

allegations including, among others, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, tortious interference with business relations, induced infringement and other matters. Additionally, the Defendants filed a Derivative Action in Rutland Superior Court as a Managing Member of GMG on July 2, 2008 against several employees of the Company and its subsidiary, FCR, LLC, making similar allegations. On September 16, 2008, the Company filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, and a Proposed Order Decreeing Dissolution and Appointing a Special Master, alleging that the relationship of GRT and FCR in GMG is irretrievably broken. The Rutland Superior Court issued a decision on February 10, 2009 ordering that a suit for dissolution must be heard in the Delaware Chancery Court as opposed to Rutland Superior Court, and the Company has brought such an action and will ask that the Delaware hearing be held expeditiously.

        All litigation is in discovery stages and, accordingly, it is not possible at this time to evaluate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or provide meaningful estimates as to amount or range of potential loss, but management currently believes that the litigation, regardless of its outcome, will not have a material adverse affect on the Company's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

        The Company has been involved in discussions with the New York Department of Labor ("DOL") regarding the applicability of certain state "Prevailing Wage" laws pertaining to work being undertaken by the Company at the Chemung County Landfill ("CCL"). On August 10, 2007, the DOL issued a letter opinion that cell construction work and other construction activities, with respect to landfill sites operated by the Company in New York State (Chemung, Ontario and Clinton County), is providing a "public purpose," and accordingly are subject to the Prevailing Wage laws. The Company will continue to work with the DOL to closely define which work may be subject to the DOL opinion, and the Company may yet pursue administrative and litigation relief. Discussions with the DOL continue with a goal of resolving this matter. Any charge incurred by the Company related to these claims will be capitalized as part of the related landfill asset, and amortized over the life of the landfill as tons of waste are placed at each landfill site. The Company does not believe that the outcome of this matter will have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

        On June 9, 2008, the Southbridge Board of Health ("Southbridge BOH") issued a Decision and Statement of Findings pursuant to M.G.L. ch.111, §§150A and 150 A1/2 and 310 CMR 16.00 ("2008 Site Assignment") granting the Company's subsidiary, Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park, Inc. ("SRD"), a minor modification to the existing site assignment for the Southbridge Sanitary Landfill (the "Landfill"). The 2008 Site Assignment allows SRD, subject to numerous conditions, to reallocate to MSW, construction and demolition tonnage capacity currently accepted at SRD's Construction and Demolition Processing Facility located adjacent to the Landfill. This would allow the Landfill to accept up to a maximum of 405,600 tons of MSW per year, including the right to import MSW to the Landfill without regard for geographic origin.

        On or about July 14, 2008, the Sturbridge Board of Health ("Sturbridge BOH"), an abutting municipality to Southbridge, together with several 10-citizen groups, filed a complaint in Worcester County Superior Court contesting the 2008 Site Assignment (the "Appeal"). The Appeal names as defendants the Southbridge BOH and its individual members at the time of the 2008 Site Assignment, and SRD. On August 21, 2008, SRD reached a settlement with the Sturbridge BOH, pursuant to which SRD agreed to fund an escrow account to be controlled by the Sturbridge BOH, in the amount of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). The escrow account will serve as a source for funds to cover the costs of SRD installing a "sentinel" downgradient well to the Landfill for tests to be conducted by and results provided to the Sturbridge BOH pursuant to an environmental plan that is a condition of the 2008 Site

36


Table of Contents

Assignment, and for related monitoring costs to be incurred by the Sturbridge BOH in connection therewith.

        The Sturbridge BOH Appeal was formally withdrawn as to all parties on August 22, 2008, and only the 10 citizen groups remain as participants in the Appeal. A Motion to Dismiss filed by SRD and the Southbridge BOH in August 2008 was denied on February 4, 2009. SRD filed its answer on February 17, 2009. On April 17, 2009, Plaintiff's Motion to Expand the Record filed on November 21, 2008 was largely dismissed by the Court (with the exception of one record); on May 1, 2009, Plaintiffs subsequently filed a Motion to Reconsider the court's decision to dismiss. The court dismissed Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider on May 20, 2009. While it is too early to assess the outcome of the Appeal, SRD will continue to aggressively defend the Appeal.

        In November 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed in United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Blue Mountain Recycling, LLC ("BMR") and the Company, alleging discriminatory hiring practices at BMR's facility in Philadelphia. A companion complaint was filed in February 2009 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. BMR and the Company deny all allegations, and while it is too early to assess the outcome of these actions, BMR and the Company will continue to aggressively defend this matter.

        The Company is a defendant in certain other lawsuits alleging various claims incurred in the ordinary course of business, none of which, either individually or in the aggregate, the Company believes are material to its financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

        The Company offers no prediction of the outcome of any of the proceedings or negotiations described above. The Company is vigorously defending each of these lawsuits and other matters. However, there can be no guarantee the Company will prevail or that any judgments against the Company, if sustained on appeal, will not have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, financial condition or results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4.    SUBMISSION OF MATTERS TO A VOTE OF SECURITY HOLDERS

        There were no matters submitted to a vote of the security holders during the fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2009.

37


Table of Contents


PART II

ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

        Our Class A common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "CWST". The following table sets forth the high and low sale prices of our Class A common stock for the periods indicated as quoted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Period
  High   Low  

Fiscal Year Ending April 30, 2008

             
 

First quarter

  $ 11.64   $ 8.87  
 

Second quarter

  $ 15.03   $ 10.23  
 

Third quarter

  $ 16.20   $ 10.70  
 

Fourth quarter

  $ 12.50   $ 9.64  

Fiscal Year Ending April 30, 2009

             
 

First quarter

  $ 14.29   $ 10.00  
 

Second quarter

  $ 14.49   $ 3.91  
 

Third quarter

  $ 6.61   $ 1.87  
 

Fourth quarter

  $ 3.17   $ .53  

        On May 29, 2009, the high and low sale prices per share of our Class A common stock as quoted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market were $2.61 and $2.45, respectively. As of May 29, 2009 there were approximately 500 holders of record of our Class A common stock and two holders of record of our Class B common stock. There is no established trading market for our Class B common stock.

        For purposes of calculating the aggregate market value of the shares of common stock held by non-affiliates, as shown on the cover page of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, it has been assumed that all the outstanding shares of Class A common stock were held by non-affiliates except for the shares beneficially held by directors and executive officers and funds represented by them.

        No dividends have ever been declared or paid on our common stock and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. Our credit facility restricts the payment of dividends on common stock. The information required by Item 201(d) of Regulation S-K is included in Part III of this Form 10-K.

38


Table of Contents

Stock Performance Graph

        The following performance graph and related information shall not be deemed "soliciting material" or to be "filed" with the SEC, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.

        The stock performance graph below compares the percentage change in cumulative stockholder return on Class A common stock for the period from April 30, 2004 through April 30, 2009, with the cumulative total return on The NASDAQ Stock Market (U.S. & Foreign) Index and the Company's Industry Peer Group on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The stock performance graph assumes the investment on April 30, 2004 of $100.00 in Class A common stock of the Company at the closing price on such date, in The NASDAQ Stock Market (U.S. & Foreign) Index and the Company's Industry Peer Group, and that dividends are reinvested. No dividends have been declared or paid on the Class A common stock.

COMPARISON OF 5 YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*
Among Casella Waste Systems, Inc., The NASDAQ Composite Index,
A New Peer Group And An Old Peer Group

GRAPHIC

 
  April 30,
2004
  April 30,
2005
  April 30,
2006
  April 30,
2007
  April 30,
2008
  April 30,
2009
 

Casella Waste Systems, Inc. 

  $ 100.00   $ 81.31   $ 107.24   $ 64.14   $ 73.52   $ 14.21  

NASDAQ Composite

  $ 100.00   $ 100.90   $ 124.20   $ 136.38   $ 130.63   $ 91.41  

Old Peer Group(1)

  $ 100.00   $ 117.21   $ 125.13   $ 148.41   $ 146.50   $ 115.38  

New Peer Group(2)

  $ 100.00   $ 72.69   $ 64.35   $ 69.93   $ 51.14   $ 32.52  

(1)
The old peer group is comprised of securities of Waste Industries USA, Inc. and Waste Connections, Inc.

(2)
The new peer group is comprised of securities of Waste Industries USA, Inc. and WCA Waste Corp.

39


Table of Contents

ITEM 6.    SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

        The following selected consolidated financial and operating data set forth below with respect to our consolidated statements of operations and cash flows for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and the consolidated balance sheets as of April 30, 2008 and 2009 are derived from the Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The consolidated statements of operations and cash flows data for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2005 and 2006, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of April 30, 2005, 2006 and 2007 are derived from previously filed Consolidated Financial Statements. The data set forth below should be read in conjunction with the "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and our Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes thereto included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2005   2006   2007   2008   2009  
 
  (in thousands, except per share data)
 

Statement of Operations Data:

                               
 

Revenues

  $ 458,835   $ 501,437   $ 531,325   $ 579,517   $ 554,241  
 

Cost of operations

    292,662     329,150     347,550     383,009     372,178  
 

General and administration

    60,758     65,617     73,202     74,184     67,846  
 

Depreciation and amortization

    64,528     63,481     70,748     77,769     72,677  
 

Goodwill impairment charge

                    55,286  
 

Environmental remediation charge

                    4,356  
 

Hardwick impairment and closing charge

            26,892     1,400      
 

Development project costs

    295     1,329     752     534     355  
                       
   

Operating (loss) income

    40,592     41,860     12,181     42,621     (18,457 )
 

Interest expense, net

    27,251     29,708     37,127     41,505     39,039  
 

Other expense / (income), net

    (1,266 )   (7,622 )   (1,622 )   3,387     1,365  
                       
 

(Loss) income from continuing operations before income taxes, discontinued operations and cumulative effect of change in accounting principle

    14,607     19,774     (23,324 )   (2,271 )   (58,861 )
 

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

    6,348     7,609     (7,849 )   1,746     9,119  
                       
 

(Loss) income from continuing operations before discontinued operations and cumulative effect of change in accounting principle

    8,259     12,165     (15,475 )   (4,017 )   (67,980 )
 

Loss from discontinued operations, net

    (908 )   (1,061 )   (1,691 )   (1,705 )   (11 )
 

Loss on disposal of discontinued operations, net

    (82 )       (717 )   (2,113 )   (34 )
                       
 

Net (loss) income

  $ 7,269   $ 11,104   $ (17,883 ) $ (7,835 ) $ (68,025 )
 

Preferred stock dividend

    3,338     3,432     3,588          
                       
 

Net (loss) income available to common stockholders

  $ 3,931   $ 7,672   $ (21,471 ) $ (7,835 ) $ (68,025 )
                       
 

Basic net (loss) income per common share

  $ 0.16   $ 0.31   $ (0.85 ) $ (0.31 ) $ (2.66 )
 

Basic weighted average common shares outstanding(1)

    24,679     24,980     25,272     25,382     25,584  
 

Diluted net (loss) income per common share

  $ 0.16   $ 0.30   $ (0.85 ) $ (0.31 ) $ (2.66 )
 

Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding(1)

    25,193     25,368     25,272     25,382     25,584  

40


Table of Contents

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2005   2006   2007   2008   2009  
 
  (in thousands)
 

Other Operating Data:

                               
 

Capital expenditures

  $ 79,074   $ 112,472   $ 100,845   $ 73,174   $ 57,736  

Other Data:

                               
 

Cash flows provided by operating activities

  $ 83,208   $ 75,124   $ 80,477   $ 71,190   $ 77,520  
 

Cash flows used in investing activities

  $ (102,765 ) $ (148,679 ) $ (97,270 ) $ (85,687 ) $ (65,416 )
 

Cash flows (used in) provided by financing activities

  $ 21,301   $ 74,018   $ 24,380   $ 3,993   $ (13,127 )

Balance Sheet Data:

                               
 

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 8,578   $ 7,425   $ 12,366   $ 2,814   $ 1,838  
 

Working capital deficit, net(2)

  $ (31,949 ) $ (23,216 ) $ (105,718 ) $ (20,153 ) $ (522,887 )
 

Property, plant and equipment, net

  $ 406,723   $ 474,292   $ 482,819   $ 488,028   $ 490,360  
 

Goodwill

  $ 157,492   $ 171,258   $ 168,998   $ 179,716   $ 125,709  
 

Total assets

  $ 712,454   $ 811,111   $ 834,093   $ 836,087   $ 750,962  
 

Long-term debt and capital leases, less current maturities

  $ 378,436   $ 452,720   $ 476,225   $ 559,227   $ 26,396  
 

Redeemable preferred stock

  $ 67,964   $ 70,430   $ 74,018   $   $  
 

Total stockholders' equity

  $ 138,782   $ 149,490   $ 129,496   $ 124,682   $ 66,310  

(1)
Computed on the basis described in Note 2(k) to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

(2)
Working capital (deficit), net is defined as current assets, excluding cash and cash equivalents, minus current liabilities.

41


Table of Contents

ITEM 7.    MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

        The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes thereto, and other financial information, included elsewhere in this Form10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements and involves numerous risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.

Company Overview

        Casella Waste Systems, Inc. is a vertically-integrated regional solid waste services company that provides collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services to residential, industrial and commercial customers, primarily in the eastern United States. Our Company was founded in 1975 as a single truck operation in Rutland, Vermont and the business now operates in 14 states. We operate vertically integrated solid waste operations in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, and Maine; and stand alone materials processing facilities in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin.

        As of May 31, 2009, we owned and/or operated 32 solid waste collection operations, 31 transfer stations, 37 recycling facilities, nine Subtitle D landfills, one landfill permitted to accept construction and demolition materials, and one waste-to-energy facility, as well as a 50% interest in a joint venture that manufactures, markets and sells cellulose insulation made from recycled fiber. We also have a 16.2% interest in a company that markets an incentive based recycling service and a 19.9% interest in a surety company which provides surety bonds to us to secure contractual performance for municipal solid waste collection contracts and landfill closure and post-closure obligations.

Outlook

        Recent economic conditions had a significant impact on our financial position and results of operations in the fiscal year ended April 30, 2009. The slowdown in the U.S. economy resulted in lower solid waste collection volumes in fiscal year 2009, compared to the prior year, particularly in our commercial and industrial collection lines. Landfill construction and demolition volumes declined in fiscal year 2009 as a result of a slowdown in construction activities. Landfill volumes also decreased year over year due to the planned closure of the Colebrook facility, which ceased operation in the second quarter of fiscal year 2009. Pricing initiatives in the solid waste collection operations contributed positively in fiscal year 2009 while landfill prices declined year over year due to the effect of market pressure on pricing due to lower volumes in the market place. The continuing weak economy and lack of liquidity in the credit markets will likely result in continued negative pressure on consumer and business spending, which will result in lower future business volumes and resulting cash flows. We have reacted to these economic conditions by managing various expense categories and capital expenditures. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009, we recorded a severance and reorganization charge of $1.3 million which consisted of employee severance and benefit costs and operating lease costs as a result of the consolidation of several operating units into market areas, the elimination of one Region office as well as other workforce reductions. Also, in fiscal year 2009 we reduced a substantial portion of our incentive compensation accrual including all amounts due under our annual incentive compensation plan.

        We had a net working capital deficit of $522.9 million at April 30, 2009 compared to a net working capital deficit of $20.2 million at April 30, 2008. The main factor accounting for the decrease in net working capital was the classification of our senior secured credit facility and senior subordinated notes as current debt. As discussed in Note 11 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 of this Form 10-K, our senior secured credit facility, including the revolving credit facility and

42


Table of Contents


Term B loan, are scheduled to expire on April 28, 2010. We have received a waiver of various covenants under the senior secured credit facility which is in effect through July 31, 2009. If we are unsuccessful in refinancing before this date, it is likely that we will be in default under our senior secured credit facility. Default of the credit facility may trigger default under the senior subordinated notes which would result in an accelerated redemption of the notes. For this reason, we have classified the senior subordinated notes as current debt as of April 30, 2009.

        Given the impending expiration of the senior secured credit facility, we plan to refinance in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. We anticipate that the refinancing will be effected through a combination of a revolving credit facility, term loan B and secured note or other offering, depending on market conditions. The refinancing will be at terms reflective of the distressed credit markets which will increase our future debt service costs. We may also seek alternative sources of capital. We cannot be certain that it will be successful in refinancing its debt and may not have access to the amount of capital it requires, on favorable terms or at all. As we would not be able to repay our senior secured credit facility obligations in accordance with the contractual terms without either refinancing this debt or obtaining additional debt or equity financing in sufficient amounts, our independent registered public accounting firm has issued an opinion on our fiscal year 2009 consolidated financial statements that includes an explanatory paragraph that expresses substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

Goodwill Impairment

        In accordance with SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets ("SFAS No. 142"), we have performed its annual assessment of goodwill impairment at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 by applying a fair value test to identified reporting segments. In the first step of testing for goodwill impairment, we estimated the fair value of each reporting unit, which we determined to be our four operating segments (Eastern, Western, Central and FCR). Effective February 1, 2009 we combined the management of the former South Eastern and North Eastern regions into the Eastern region. In conjunction with this combination, Maine Energy, which was formerly a separate reporting unit, was also combined into the Eastern region reporting unit. The estimated fair value of each reporting unit was compared with the carrying value of the net assets assigned to each reporting unit. Consistent with prior years, to determine the fair value of each of our reporting units as a whole we used discounted cash flow analyses and estimates about the future operations of each reporting unit. This analysis included a determination of an appropriate discount rate, the amount and timing of expected future cash flows and growth rates. The cash flows employed in our discounted cash flow analyses were based on financial forecasts developed internally by management. The discount rate used at the test date was our risk adjusted discount rate applicable for each reporting unit. The sum of the fair values of the reporting units was reconciled to our current market capitalization (based on our stock price) plus an estimated control premium. The step one test determined that the fair value of our Eastern region reporting segment was less than its carrying value. The reasons for this outcome were the continued deterioration of the equity and credit markets and the economy and their related impact on (i) our projected near term cash flows, due to lower projected landfill volumes and commodity pricing and (ii) an increase in our risk adjusted discount rate.

        We proceeded to a step two analysis, which included valuing the tangible and intangible assets and liabilities of the Eastern region to determine the implied fair value of goodwill. The result of this assessment indicated that the implied fair value of goodwill was zero. As a result we recognized a non-cash pre-tax charge of $55.3 million for the quarter ended April 30, 2009, to write-off the entire carrying value of the Eastern region goodwill.

        In anticipation of the possibility that we would be required to record non-cash charges, including a goodwill impairment charge, in our financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2009, we sought and received a waiver from our lenders on June 3, 2009 of various covenants under this credit facility

43


Table of Contents


which we would have otherwise breached as a result of these non-cash charges. The lenders have given us a waiver with respect to this and other non-cash charges; however, the waiver is only applicable to our April 30, 2009 financial statements and will remain in effect through July 31, 2009. The waiver does not include a waiver of our financial covenant compliance for the quarter ended July 31, 2009, and accordingly, if we are unable to complete our refinancing by that date, it is likely we will be in default under our senior secured credit facility unless we seek another waiver.

Operating Results

        For the year ended April 30, 2009, the Company reported revenues of $554.2 million, a decrease of $25.3 million, or 4.4%, from $579.5 million in the year ended April 30, 2008. Solid waste revenues, including the Company's major accounts program, decreased 2.5%, with lower collection and landfill volumes accounting for 5.3% of the decrease and lower commodity prices and volumes 0.4% of the decline. These decreases were partially offset by the positive effect of price increases, including fuel and environmental surcharges, of 2.4%, primarily from our collection operations, and 0.9% from the rollover effect of a major accounts tuck-in acquisition. FCR recycling revenues decreased 10.9%, with 9.0% coming from lower commodity prices and 1.9% from lower volumes in the quarter.

        For the quarter ended April 30, 2009, the Company reported revenues of $117.6 million, a decrease of $22.0 million, or 15.7%, from $139.6 million for the quarter ended April 30, 2008. Solid waste revenues, including the Company's major accounts program, decreased 9.8%, with lower collection and landfill volumes accounting for 10.4% of the decrease and lower commodity prices and volumes 1.3% of the decline. These decreases were partially offset by the positive effect of price increases, including fuel and environmental surcharges, of 1.5%, primarily from our collection operations, and 0.4% from the rollover effect of a major accounts tuck-in acquisition. FCR recycling revenues decreased 34.2%, with 26.0% coming from lower commodity prices and 8.2% from lower volumes in the quarter.

        FCR recycling revenues declined $14.0 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to the prior year, as a result of a sharp decline in commodity prices at the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2009, driven by a severe drop in demand for all of the Company's commodity product line as a result of global economic conditions. The Company does not expect to see stabilization and growth in commodity prices in many grades until the global economic climate improves. Prices in the recycling commodity markets began to partially rebound in the quarter ended April 30, 2009, including fiber (newspapers, cardboard, and mixed papers) and plastic prices. The decrease in FCR recycling revenues were partially offset by hedge contracts which reduce the impact of pricing fluctuations on a portion of FCR's fiber volumes and from an increase in tipping fees year over year.

        Eastern region revenues declined $2.6 million, or 1.4%, primarily due to the idling of a construction and demolition processing plant and the ramp-down of landfill volumes at the Pine Tree landfill, partially offset by higher revenues from volume increases at other landfill locations as well as revenue increases from the Pine Tree landfill gas-to-energy facility. Collection revenues decreased year over year as volume declines more than offset price increases. Western region revenues decreased $3.0 million or 2.8% due to lower collection volumes, partially offset by price increases. Landfill prices declined year over year and the volume increases at our Hyland and Ontario facilities were partially offset by volume declines at the Hakes construction and demolition site. Revenues from landfill gas-to-energy projects and carbon emission credits at our Ontario and Hyland facility contributed positively to revenue growth year over year. Central region revenues decreased $8.1 million or 6.5% due to lower collection and landfill volumes and the effect of lower commodity prices. Revenue declines from the planned closure of the Colebrook landfill, which ceased operations in August 2008, were $4.7 million year over year. These decreases were partially offset by collection and landfill price increases, the positive effect of tuck-in acquisitions and the start-up of the landfill-gas-to-energy facility at the Clinton County landfill.

44


Table of Contents

        Operating loss for the fiscal year 2009 was $18.5 million compared to operating income of $42.6 million in fiscal year 2008. The Company's operating results were negatively impacted by the goodwill impairment charge discussed above as well as by environmental remediation charges in the third quarter of $2.8 million for the estimated cost of its share of work associated with a consent order issued by the State of New York to remediate the scrap yard and solid waste transfer station owned by Waste-Stream, Inc., a subsidiary of the Company, and in the fourth quarter, in which the Company recognized an additional charge of $1.5 million for this same matter in recognition of the deteriorating financial condition and eventual bankruptcy filing by General Motors Corporation, one of the other responsible parties to this obligation. Operating results were positively impacted by lower cost of operations, general administration and depreciation and landfill amortization, due to the planned closure of the Colebrook landfill, the ramp-down of landfill volumes at the Pine Tree landfill and lower construction and demolition volumes at the Hakes landfill.

        FCR recycling operating income decreased $12.1 million year over year due to the impact in the third and fourth quarters of lower commodity prices as well as costs associated with the upgrade of the Philadelphia and Boston materials recycling facilities to Zero-Sort Recycling™. Also included in FCR's prior year operating income was $1.6 million of income from transactions involving the domestic brokerage and Canadian recycling operations, compared to $0.2 million in fiscal year 2009. Operating income for the Eastern region decreased $49.3 million, primarily due to the goodwill impairment charge discussed above. Excluding this charge, operating income increased $6.0 million as decreased revenues were more than offset by lower operating costs and landfill amortization as well as the favorable impact of a $0.8 million benefit from a reimbursement from the Town of Southbridge for previously paid and expensed closure and post closure costs at the Southbridge landfill site. In fiscal year 2008 operating results for the Eastern region included a $1.4 million charge for revised estimated closing costs for the Hardwick landfill facility. Despite lower revenue levels and the environmental remediation charges discussed above, the Western region operating income increased $1.3 million year over year due to lower operating costs and landfill amortization, primarily due to lower construction and demolition volumes at the Hakes landfill facility, as well as the positive effect of the start-up of the Hyland gas-to-energy facility as well as the sale of $1.4 million of carbon emission credits. Central region operating income increased $0.9 million year over year as lower revenues were more than offset by lower operating costs and landfill amortization, primarily due to the planned closure of the Colebrook landfill.

        The Company recorded a net loss of $68.0 million for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2009 compared to a net loss of $7.8 million in fiscal year 2008. The operating loss discussed above was partially offset by lower interest costs and the improved performance from the Company's unconsolidated subsidiary, GreenFiber. The Company pre-tax loss was $58.9 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to a pre-tax loss of $2.3 million in fiscal year 2008. Included in the fiscal year 2008 pre-tax loss was a $2.1 million gain related to the reversal of residual accruals originally established in connection with waste handling agreement disputes between the Company's Maine Energy subsidiary and fifteen municipalities which were party to the agreements. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009, the Company recognized a non-cash charge of $24.1 million in the provision for income taxes from continuing operations related to an increase in the Company's deferred tax asset valuation allowance. In assessing the realizability of federal and state net operating loss carryforwards and other deferred tax assets, management determined that it is more likely than not that some portion of the deferred tax assets will not be realized in accordance with SFAS No. 109, Accounting for Income Taxes (see Note 17 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K).

        Net cash provided by operations was $77.5 million in fiscal year 2009 up from $71.2 million in fiscal year 2008. The increase in cash provided by operations included $14.0 million from cash received in the fourth quarter from the liquidation of trust assets held as collateral for the Company's self insurance financial obligations. The trust collateral was replaced by bank letter of credit. Our capital

45


Table of Contents


requirements include acquisitions, fixed asset purchases and capital expenditures for landfill development and cell construction, as well as site and cell closure. Our capital expenditures were $57.7 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to $73.2 million in fiscal year 2008. Capital spending was lower in fiscal year 2009 mainly due to delayed landfill projects. We also financed $14.1 million in capital projects in fiscal year 2009 through financing lease obligations that were not included in our reported capital expenditures.

Acquisitions and Divestitures

        In fiscal year 2007, the Company completed the sale of the assets of the Holliston Transfer Station in the Eastern region for cash sale proceeds of $7.4 million. A loss amounting to $0.7 million (net of tax) was recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2007. In fiscal year 2008 the Company recorded the true-up of certain contingent liabilities associated with the Holliston transaction amounting to a gain of $0.3 million (net of tax) recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations and also completed the sale of the Company's Buffalo, N.Y. transfer station, hauling operation and related equipment in the Western region for proceeds of $4.9 million including a note receivable for $2.5 million and net cash proceeds of $2.4 million. A loss amounting to $0.5 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2008.

        The Company terminated its operation of MTS Environmental, a soils processing operation in the Eastern region, in fiscal year 2008. A charge was recorded amounting to $3.2 million associated with the abandonment. Included in this charge was the write off of the carrying value of assets along with costs associated with vacating the site. A loss amounting to $1.9 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2008. As of April 30, 2008, the Company also deemed its FCR Greenville operation as held for sale and classified this operation as a discontinued operation pursuant to the requirements of SFAS No 144, Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets ("SFAS No. 144"). The divestiture was completed in June 2008 for cash proceeds of $0.7 million. A loss amounting to $0.03 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2009. The operating results of the operations discussed above, including those related to prior years, have been reclassified from continuing to discontinued operations in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

        In fiscal year 2009, the Company acquired three solid waste hauling operations in exchange for $2.4 million in cash consideration. Under the rules of purchase accounting, the acquired companies' revenues and results of operations have been included from the date of acquisition and affect the period-to-period comparisons of the Company's historical results of operations.

        On August 15, 2008, the Company made a $2.5 million equity contribution to GreenFiber, which was required as a condition to the refinancing of GreenFiber's existing revolving credit facility. In addition, the other member of GreenFiber, Louisiana-Pacific ("LP"), made the same equity contribution resulting in no change to the Company's ownership in GreenFiber. The Company will continue to account for its 50% ownership in GreenFiber using the equity method of accounting. In addition, the Company and LP issued a joint and several guarantee of up to $2.0 million to support the refinancing of a GreenFiber term loan. The guarantee can be drawn only upon a default (as defined) by GreenFiber under this term loan.

46


Table of Contents

General

Revenues

        Our revenues in our Eastern, Central and Western regions are attributable primarily to fees charged to customers for solid waste disposal and collection, landfill, landfill gas-to energy, waste-to-energy, transfer and recycling services. We derive a substantial portion of our collection revenues from commercial, industrial and municipal services that are generally performed under service agreements or pursuant to contracts with municipalities. The majority of our residential collection services are performed on a subscription basis with individual households. Landfill, waste-to-energy facility and transfer customers are charged a tipping fee on a per ton basis for disposing of their solid waste at our disposal facilities and transfer stations. Recycling revenues, which are included in FCR and the Central and Western regions, consist of revenues from the sale of recyclable commodities and operations and maintenance contracts of recycling facilities for municipal customers. We also generate and sell electricity under a contract at our waste-to-energy facility and at certain of our landfill facilities.

        Our cellulose insulation business is conducted through a 50/50 joint venture with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, and accordingly, we recognize half of the joint venture's net income on the equity method in our results of operations. The Company also has a 16.2% interest in a company that markets an incentive based recycling service and a 19.9% interest in a surety company which provides surety bonds to the Company to secure contractual performance for municipal solid waste collection contracts and landfill closure and post-closure obligations. The Company accounts for these investments under the cost method of accounting. Also, in the "Other" segment, we have ancillary revenues including major customer accounts.

        Our revenues are shown net of inter-company eliminations. We typically establish our inter-company transfer pricing based upon prevailing market rates. The table below shows, for the periods indicated, the percentages and dollars (in millions) of revenue attributable to services provided.

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Collection

  $ 256.4     48.4 % $ 270.1     46.6 % $ 261.5     47.2 %

Landfill / disposal facilities

    106.4     20.0 %   106.2     18.3 % $ 104.5     18.8 %

Transfer

    25.5     4.8 %   26.2     4.6 % $ 30.9     5.6 %

Recycling

    143.0     26.8 %   177.0     30.5 % $ 157.3     28.4 %
                           

Total revenues

  $ 531.3     100.0 % $ 579.5     100.0 % $ 554.2     100.0 %
                           

        Collection, landfill/disposal facilities and transfer revenues each increased as a percentage of total revenues in the fiscal year ended 2009 compared to fiscal year 2008, mainly because of the decrease in recycling revenues. The dollar decrease in collection revenues in fiscal year 2009 compared to fiscal year 2008 is primarily due to lower volumes, partially offset by price increases and the effect of a major accounts tuck-in acquisition. The dollar increase in transfer revenue in fiscal year 2009 is primarily due to volume growth. Recycling revenues are primarily from recycling facilities in the FCR recycling region. As noted above, FCR recycling revenues were negatively impacted as a result of a sharp decline in commodity prices in fiscal year 2009 compared to fiscal year 2008.

        Collection and landfill/disposal facilities revenues each decreased as a percentage of total revenues in fiscal year 2008 compared to fiscal year 2007, mainly because of the increase in recycling revenues due to higher commodity prices. Collection and transfer revenue dollars increased in fiscal year 2008 due to the positive impact of price and volume increases in the Eastern region and in the Company's major accounts programs and the effect of tuck-in acquisitions in the Central, Western and Eastern regions and within the major accounts program.

47


Table of Contents

Operating Expenses

        Cost of operations includes labor, tipping fees paid to third-party disposal facilities, fuel, maintenance and repair of vehicles and equipment, worker's compensation and vehicle insurance, the cost of purchasing materials to be recycled, third party transportation expense, district and state taxes, host community fees and royalties. Cost of operations also includes accretion expense related to landfill capping, closure and post closure, leachate treatment and disposal costs and depletion of landfill operating lease obligations.

        General and administration expenses include management, clerical and administrative compensation and overhead, professional services and costs associated with marketing, sales force and community relations efforts.

        Depreciation and amortization expense includes depreciation of fixed assets over the estimated useful life of the assets using the straight-line method, amortization of landfill airspace assets under the units-of-consumption method, and the amortization of intangible assets (other than goodwill) using the straight-line method. In accordance with SFAS No. 143, Accounting for Asset Retirement Obligations, except for accretion expense, we amortize landfill retirement assets through a charge to cost of operations using a straight-line rate per ton as landfill airspace is utilized. The amount of landfill amortization expense related to airspace consumption can vary materially from landfill to landfill depending upon the purchase price and landfill site and cell development costs. We depreciate all fixed and intangible assets, other than goodwill, to a zero net book value, and do not apply a salvage value to any fixed assets.

        We capitalize certain direct landfill development costs, such as engineering, permitting, legal, construction and other costs associated directly with the expansion of existing landfills. Additionally, we also capitalize certain third party expenditures related to development projects and pending acquisitions, such as legal and engineering costs. We routinely evaluate all such capitalized costs, and expense those costs related to projects not likely to be successful. Internal and indirect landfill development and acquisition costs, such as executive and corporate overhead, public relations and other corporate services, are expensed as incurred.

        We will have material financial obligations relating to capping, closure and post-closure costs of our existing landfills and any disposal facilities which we may own or operate in the future. We have provided and will in the future provide accruals for these future financial obligations based on engineering estimates of consumption of permitted landfill airspace over the useful life of any such landfill. There can be no assurance that our financial obligations for capping, closure or post-closure costs will not exceed the amount accrued and reserved or amounts otherwise receivable pursuant to trust funds.

48


Table of Contents

Results of Operations

        The following table sets forth for the periods indicated the percentage relationship that certain items from our consolidated financial statements bear in relation to revenues.

 
  Fiscal Year
Ended April 30,
 
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Revenues

    100.0 %   100.0 %   100.0 %

Cost of operations

    65.4 %   66.1 %   67.2 %

General and administration

    13.8 %   12.8 %   12.2 %

Depreciation and amortization

    13.3 %   13.4 %   13.1 %

Goodwill impairment charge

    0.0 %   0.0 %   10.0 %

Environmental remediation charge

    0.0 %   0.0 %   0.8 %

Hardwick impairment and closing charge

    5.1 %   0.2 %   0.0 %

Deferred costs

    0.1 %   0.1 %   0.1 %
               

Operating (loss) income

   
2.3

%
 
7.4

%
 
(3.3

)%
               

Interest expense, net

    7.0 %   7.2 %   7.0 %

Loss (income) from equity method investments

    (0.2 )%   1.0 %   0.4 %

Other income, net

    (0.1 )%   (0.5 )%   (0.1 )%

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

    (1.5 )%   0.3 %   1.6 %
               

(Loss) before discontinued operations

   
(2.9

)%
 
(0.7

)%
 
(12.3

)%
               

Fiscal Year 2009 versus Fiscal Year 2008

        Revenues.    Revenues decreased $25.3 million, or 4.4% to $554.2 million in fiscal year 2009 from $579.5 million in fiscal year 2008. Solid waste revenues, including the Company's major accounts program, decreased $11.2 million. Price increases, including fuel and environmental surcharges, in our collections operations were $10.6 million and revenues from the rollover effect of acquisitions, primarily from a major accounts tuck-in acquisition, accounted for $3.5 million of the increase. These increases were mostly offset by a decrease in volumes, primarily from collection operations, which negatively impacted revenue growth by $25.3 million. FCR recycling revenues decreased $14.0 million mainly due to lower commodity prices.

        Cost of operations.    Cost of operations decreased $10.9 million, or 2.9% to $372.1 million in fiscal year 2009 from $383.0 million in fiscal year 2008. Cost of operations as a percentage of revenues increased to 67.2% in fiscal year 2009 from 66.1% in the prior year. The dollar decrease is primarily due to lower cost of purchased materials associated with lower FCR recycling revenues, lower direct labor costs, disposal and fuel costs. These dollar decreases were partially offset by higher hauling, maintenance and property tax expense, due to a property tax refund recognized in the prior year period. Also, included in the prior year was a reduction in the amount of $1.6 million from transactions involving the domestic brokerage and Canadian recycling operations as payments received on the notes receivable in fiscal year 2008 exceeded the balance of the net assets under contractual obligation, compared to $0.2 million in fiscal year 2009.

        General and administration.    General and administration expenses decreased $6.3 million, or 8.5%, to $67.8 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to $74.2 million in fiscal year 2008, and decreased as a percentage of revenues to 12.2% in fiscal year 2009 from 12.8% in fiscal year 2008. The dollar decrease is primarily due to lower costs associated with reduced incentive compensation accruals in fiscal year 2009, partially offset by higher bad debt expenses and by a severance and reorganization charge of

49


Table of Contents


$1.2 million. This charge was primarily incurred in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 and included employee severance and benefit costs and operating lease costs as a result of the consolidation of several operating units into market areas, the elimination of one Region office as well as other workforce reductions. General and administration expenses in fiscal year 2008 included a $1.2 million charge for recruiting, equity compensation and termination costs associated with the Company's management reorganization.

        Depreciation and amortization.    Depreciation and amortization expense decreased $5.1 million, or 6.5%, to $72.7 million in fiscal year 2009 from $77.8 million in fiscal year 2008. Landfill amortization expense decreased by $5.4 million primarily due to lower volumes as result of the planned closure of our Colebrook facility, which closed in the second quarter of fiscal year 2009, as well as the ramp-down of landfill volumes at the Pine Tree landfill, partially offset by an increase in amortization at our Worcester facility due to increased volumes. Depreciation expense increased $0.3 million year over year. Depreciation and amortization expense as a percentage of revenue decreased to 13.1% in fiscal year 2009 from 13.4% in fiscal year 2008.

        Goodwill impairment charge.    In accordance with SFAS No. 142, the Company performed its annual assessment of goodwill impairment at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 by applying a fair value test to identified reporting units. The Company's step one analysis indicated that the fair value of its Eastern region reporting segment was less than its carrying value and proceeded to a step two analysis, which included valuing the tangible and intangible assets and liabilities of the Eastern region to determine the implied fair value of goodwill. The result of this assessment indicated that the implied fair value of goodwill was zero. As a result the Company recognized a non-cash charge of $55.3 million in the quarter ended April 30, 2009, to write-off the entire carrying value of the Eastern region goodwill.

        Environmental remediation charge.    In the third quarter of fiscal year 2009, the Company recorded an environmental remediation charge of $2.8 million for the estimated cost of its share of work associated with a consent order issued by the State of New York to remediate the scrap yard and solid waste transfer station owned by Waste-Stream, Inc., a subsidiary of the Company. The consent order named other parties responsible in addition to the Company. The Company is jointly and severally liable for the total cost to remediate but expected to be responsible for approximately 30% upon implementation of a cost-sharing agreement. In the fourth quarter the Company recognized an additional charge of $1.5 million, representing an additional 15% of the estimated costs, in recognition of the deteriorating financial condition and eventual bankruptcy filing of General Motors Corporation, one of the other responsible parties to this obligation. Such amounts could be higher if costs exceed estimates or the other responsible parties are not able to meet their obligation.

        Hardwick impairment and closing charge.    In fiscal year 2008 the Company recorded a $1.4 million charge associated with revised estimates for its future cash expenditures on capping, closure and post-closure activities at the Hardwick landfill, which the Company closed in fiscal year 2007.

        Development project charges.    In the fourth quarter of fiscal years 2009 and 2008, the Company wrote-off $0.4 million and $0.5 million in deferred costs associated with certain development projects deemed no longer viable.

        Interest expense, net.    Net interest expense decreased $2.5 million, or 5.9% to $39.0 million in fiscal year 2009 from $41.5 million in fiscal year 2008. This decrease is attributable to lower interest rates on the Company's senior credit facility partially offset by higher net debt levels. Net interest expense, as a percentage of revenues, decreased to 7.0% in fiscal year 2009 from 7.2% in fiscal year 2008.

        Loss (income) from equity method investments.    The loss from equity method investments in fiscal year 2009 relates to the Company's 50% joint venture interest in GreenFiber and for fiscal year 2008

50


Table of Contents


also included losses from Company's interest in RecycleRewards. GreenFiber reported a loss for fiscal year 2009 of which the Company's share was $2.2 million compared to a loss in fiscal year 2008, of which the Company's share was $4.1 million. GreenFiber continues to be negatively impacted by the overall slowdown in the housing market, offset by a reduction in the cost of fiber, its primary cost of goods sold. As discussed above, effective April 2008, the Company had a voting interest of 16.2% from its common stock investment in RecycleRewards and accordingly accounts for this investment under the cost method of accounting. Prior to April 2008 the Company's interest was 20.5% and accordingly the Company accounted for this investment under the equity method of accounting. RecycleRewards reported a loss in fiscal year 2008, of which the Company's share was $2.0 million.

        Other income.    Other income in fiscal year 2009 amounted to $0.8 million compared to $2.7 million in fiscal year 2008. Other income in fiscal year 2009 includes a dividend of $0.2 million from our investment in Evergreen and the balance represents a gain on the sale of assets and certain marketable securities. Other income in fiscal year 2008 included $2.1 million related to the reversal of residual accruals originally established in connection with waste handling agreement disputes between the Company's Maine Energy subsidiary and 15 municipalities which were party to the agreements. On June 18, 2008, the Company settled the last of these disputes with the City of Saco and the city agreed to release the Company from any further residual cancellation payment obligation.

        Provision (benefit) for income taxes.    Provision (benefit) for income taxes increased $7.4 million in fiscal year 2009 to $9.1 million from $1.7 million in fiscal year 2008. The effective tax rate increased to (15.5)% in the year ended April 30, 2009 from (76.9)% in fiscal year 2008. The rate variance between the periods is due mainly to the impairment of non-deductible goodwill and the $24.1 million increase in the valuation allowance in 2009. The remaining rate variance is primarily due to the low level of book loss from operations in 2008 and the add back of non-deductible items, including the 2008 non-deductible losses related to RecycleRewards, Inc. and preferred stock dividends recorded as interest expense.

        Loss from discontinued operations/Loss on disposal of discontinued operations.    In fiscal year 2007, the Company completed the sale of the assets of the Holliston Transfer Station in the Eastern region for cash sale proceeds of $7.4 million. A loss amounting to $0.7 million (net of tax) was recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2007. In fiscal year 2008 the Company recorded the true-up of certain contingent liabilities associated with the Holliston transaction amounting to a gain of $0.3 million (net of tax) recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations and also completed the sale of the Company's Buffalo, N.Y. transfer station, hauling operation and related equipment in the Western region for proceeds of $4.9 million including a note receivable for $2.5 million and net cash proceeds of $2.4 million. A loss amounting to $0.5 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2008.

        The Company terminated its operation of MTS Environmental, a soils processing operation in the Eastern region, in fiscal year 2008. A charge was recorded amounting to $3.2 million associated with the abandonment. Included in this charge was the write off of the carrying value of assets along with costs associated with vacating the site. A loss amounting to $1.9 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2008. As of April 30, 2008, the Company also deemed its FCR Greenville operation as held for sale and classified this operation as a discontinued operation pursuant to the requirements of SFAS No 144. The divestiture was completed in June 2008 for cash proceeds of $0.7 million. A loss amounting to $0.03 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2009.

        The operating results of the operations discussed above, including those related to prior years, have been reclassified from continuing to discontinued operations in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

51


Table of Contents

Fiscal Year 2008 versus Fiscal Year 2007

        Revenues.    Revenues increased $48.2 million, or 9.1% to $579.5 million in fiscal year 2008 from $531.3 million in fiscal year 2007. Solid waste revenues, including the Company's major accounts program, increased $20.5 million, with $4.0 million coming from price increases, primarily from our collection and transfer operations, and $13.2 million coming mainly from landfill and major accounts volume increases and increases in solid waste recycling commodity prices. Revenues from the rollover effect of acquired businesses, including tuck-in hauling acquisitions in the Central, Western, Eastern regions and major accounts accounted for $3.3 million of the increase. FCR recycling revenue increased $27.7 million mainly due to higher commodity prices.

        Cost of operations.    Cost of operations increased $35.4 million, or 10.2% to $383.0 million in fiscal year 2008 from $347.6 million in fiscal year 2007. Cost of operations as a percentage of revenues increased to 66.1% in fiscal year 2008 from 65.4% in the prior year, primarily due to an increase in the cost of purchased materials associated with higher FCR commodity prices as well as higher fuel costs, partially offset by lower direct operating costs and direct labor as well as property tax refunds.

        General and administration.    General and administration expenses increased $1.0 million or 1.4% to $74.2 million in fiscal year 2008 from $73.2 million in fiscal year 2007. General and administrative expenses decreased as a percentage of revenues to 12.8% in fiscal year 2008 from 13.8% in fiscal year 2007 due to higher levels of revenue as well as the Company's focus on cost reduction programs in fiscal year 2008. The dollar increase in general and administrative costs was due primarily to higher compensation costs which include a $1.2 million non-recurring charge for recruiting, equity compensation and termination costs associated with the Company's management reorganization, partially offset by lower bad debt allowances, communication and marketing expenses and legal and audit costs.

        Depreciation and amortization.    Depreciation and amortization expense increased $7.0 million, or 10.0%, to $77.8 million in fiscal year 2008 from $70.7 million in fiscal year 2007. Landfill amortization expense increased by $6.7 million primarily due to higher expense at Pinetree, to reflect the shorter life of the site as agreed with the State of Maine. Depreciation expense increased between periods by $0.5 million due to capital additions. Amortization of other intangible assets decreased by $0.2 million year over year as certain intangible assets were fully amortized during fiscal year 2008. Depreciation and amortization expense as a percentage of revenue increased to 13.4% in fiscal year 2008 from 13.3% in fiscal year 2007.

        Hardwick impairment and closing charge.    In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007, the Company closed its Hardwick landfill in the South Eastern region following the defeat of a proposed amendment to the Hardwick zoning bylaws and recorded an impairment charge of $18.7 million which reflected the write-off of the net book value of the facility along with closing charges of $8.2 million in estimated future cash expenditures on capping, closure and post closure of the landfill. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008 the Company recorded a $1.4 million charge associated with revised estimates for its future cash expenditures on capping, closure and post-closure activities at the landfill.

        Development project charges.    In the fourth quarter of fiscal years 2008 and 2007, the Company wrote-off $0.5 million and $0.8 million, respectively, in deferred costs associated with certain development projects deemed no longer viable.

        Operating income.    Operating income increased $30.4 million, or 249.9%, to $42.6 million in fiscal year 2008 from $12.2 million in fiscal year 2007 and increased as a percentage of revenues to 7.4% in fiscal year 2008 from 2.3% in fiscal year 2007. The Eastern region operating income declined as landfill amortization expense at Pinetree increased year over year as discussed above. Offsetting this decrease, operating income increased due to the impact in the prior year of the Hardwick impairment and

52


Table of Contents


closing charge discussed above. Prior year revenue in the Eastern region included the true-up of the Brockton closure project. FCR's operating income increased in fiscal year 2008 compared to fiscal year 2007 mainly due to higher prices and lower operating costs as a percentage of revenue year over year. Included in FCR operating income is $1.6 million of income from the transactions involving the domestic brokerage and Canadian recycling operations, as payments received on the notes receivable in fiscal year 2008 exceeded the balance of the net assets under contractual obligation.

        Interest expense, net.    Net interest expense increased $4.4 million, or 11.8% to $41.5 million in fiscal year 2008 from $37.1 million in fiscal year 2007. This increase is attributable to higher debt levels, including the preferred shares which were redeemed in fiscal year 2008, compared to the prior year. In conjunction with the redemption, the Company recorded accrued dividends for the fiscal year 2008, in the amount of $1.0 million, as interest expense. Net interest expense, as a percentage of revenues, increased to 7.2% in fiscal year 2008 from 7.0% in fiscal year 2007.

        Loss (income) from equity method investments.    The loss from equity method investments in fiscal year 2008 relates to the Company's 50% joint venture interest in GreenFiber and the Company's interest in RecycleRewards. GreenFiber reported a loss for fiscal year 2008 of which the Company's share was $4.1 million, compared to income of $2.1 million in fiscal year 2007. GreenFiber's revenue and income were down in fiscal year 2008 due to a slowdown in new home construction and higher fiber prices. RecycleRewards reported a loss for fiscal year 2008, of which the Company's share was $2.0 million compared to a loss of $1.1 million in fiscal year 2007. Effective April 2008, the Company changed the accounting for its investment in RecycleRewards from the equity method of accounting to the cost method of accounting as RecycleRewards completed an equity offering to third party investors that reduced the Company's common share interest to 16.2%.

        Other income, net.    Other income for fiscal year 2008 amounted to $2.7 million compared to $0.6 million in fiscal year 2007. Other income in fiscal year 2008 includes $2.1 million related to the reversal of residual accruals originally established in connection with waste handling agreement disputes between the Company's Maine Energy subsidiary and fifteen municipalities which were party to the agreements. On June 18, 2007, the Company settled the last of these disputes with the City of Saco and the city agreed to release the Company from any further residual cancellation payment obligations. Also included in other income are dividends of $0.4 million and $0.2 million for fiscal years 2008 and 2007 respectively from our investment in Evergreen National Indemnity Company ("Evergreen").

        Provision (benefit) for income taxes.    Provision (benefit) for income taxes increased $9.5 million in fiscal year 2008 to $1.7 million from $(7.8) million in fiscal year 2007. The effective tax rate decreased to (76.9)% in the year ended April 30, 2008 from 33.7% in fiscal year 2007. The rate variance between the periods is due mainly to the low level of book income from operations, the add back of non-deductible items, including non-deductible losses related to RecycleRewards and preferred stock dividends recorded as interest expense.

        Loss from discontinued operations/Loss on disposal of discontinued operations.    In fiscal year 2007, the Company completed the sale of the assets of the Holliston Transfer Station in the Eastern region for cash sale proceeds of $7.4 million. A loss amounting to $0.7 million (net of tax) was recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2007. In fiscal year 2008 the Company recorded the true-up of certain contingent liabilities associated with the Holliston transaction amounting to a gain of $0.3 million (net of tax) recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations and also completed the sale of the Company's Buffalo, N.Y. transfer station, hauling operation and related equipment in the Western region for proceeds of $4.9 million including a note receivable for $2.5 million and net cash proceeds of $2.4 million. A loss amounting to $0.5 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2008.

53


Table of Contents

        The Company terminated its operation of MTS Environmental, a soils processing operation in the Eastern region, in fiscal year 2008. A charge was recorded amounting to $3.2 million associated with the abandonment. Included in this charge was the write off of the carrying value of assets along with costs associated with vacating the site. A loss amounting to $1.9 million (net of tax) has been recorded to loss on disposal of discontinued operations in fiscal year 2008. As of April 30, 2008, the Company also deemed its FCR Greenville operation as held for sale and classified this operation as a discontinued operation pursuant to the requirements of SFAS No 144. The divestiture was completed in June 2008 for cash proceeds of $0.7 million.

        The operating results of the operations discussed above, including those related to prior years, have been reclassified from continuing to discontinued operations in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

        Our business is capital intensive. Our capital requirements include acquisitions, fixed asset purchases and capital expenditures for landfill development and cell construction, as well as site and cell closure. Our capital expenditures are broadly defined as pertaining to either growth or maintenance activities. Growth capital expenditures are defined as costs related to development of new airspace, permit expansions, new recycling contracts along with incremental costs of equipment and infrastructure added to further such activities. Growth capital expenditures include the cost of equipment added directly as a result of new business as well as expenditures associated with increasing infrastructure to increase throughput at transfer stations and recycling facilities. Growth capital expenditures also include those outlays associated with acquiring landfill operating leases, which do not meet the operating lease payment definition, but which were included as a commitment in the successful bid. Maintenance capital expenditures are defined as landfill cell construction costs not related to expansion airspace, costs for normal permit renewals and replacement costs for equipment due to age or obsolescence.

        We generally meet liquidity needs from operating cash flow and from external sources including our senior secured credit facility. These liquidity needs are primarily for capital expenditures for vehicles, containers and landfill development, debt service costs and capping, closure and post-closure expenditures and acquisitions. We had a net working capital deficit of $522.9 million at April 30, 2009 compared to a net working capital deficit of $20.2 million at April 30, 2008. Net working capital comprises current assets, excluding cash and cash equivalents, minus current liabilities. The main factor accounting for the decrease in net working capital was the classification of our senior credit facility and senior subordinated notes as current debt. The senior credit facility matures April 28, 2010 and we expect to refinance the facility in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. We anticipate that the refinancing will be effected through a combination of a revolving credit facility, term loan B and secured bond or other offering, depending on market conditions. The refinancing will likely be at terms reflective of the distressed credit markets which will increase our debt service costs. We may also seek alternative sources of capital. We cannot be certain that it will be successful in refinancing its debt and it may not have access to the amount of capital that it requires, on favorable terms or at all. We have received a waiver, as discussed below, of various covenants under the senior secured credit facility which is in effect through July 31, 2009. If we are unsuccessful in refinancing before this date, it is likely that we will be in default under our senior secured credit facility. Default of the credit facility may trigger default under the senior subordinated notes which would result in an accelerated redemption of the notes. For this reason, we have classified the senior subordinated notes as current debt as of April 30, 2009.

        The senior revolving credit facility agreement, as amended May 9, 2007, contains covenants that may limit the Company's activities including covenants that forbid the payment of dividends on common stock. As of April 30, 2009, these covenants restricted capital expenditures to 1.75 times depreciation and landfill amortization, set a minimum net worth requirement of $95.2 million, a

54


Table of Contents


minimum interest coverage ratio of 2.25, a maximum consolidated total funded debt to consolidated EBITDA ratio of 5.25 and a maximum senior funded debt to consolidated EBITDA ratio of 3.35. In anticipation of the possibility that we would be required to record non-cash charges, including a goodwill impairment charge, in our financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2009, we sought and received a waiver from our lenders on June 3, 2009 of various covenants under this credit facility which we would have otherwise breached as a result of such non-cash charges. The lenders have given us a waiver with respect to this and other non-cash charges; however, the waiver is only applicable to our April 30, 2009 financial statements and will remain in effect through July 31, 2009. The waiver does not include a waiver of our financial covenant compliance for the quarter ended July 31, 2009 and accordingly, if we are unable to complete our refinancing by that date, it is likely that we will be in default under our senior secured credit facility unless we obtain another waiver.

        The senior subordinated note indenture contains covenants that restrict dividends, stock repurchases and other payments, and limits the incurrence of debt and issuance of preferred stock. As of April 30, 2009, we were in compliance with all covenants.

        Our capital expenditures were $57.7 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to $73.2 million in fiscal year 2008. Growth capital expenditures were $10.6 million and $19.0 million in fiscal years 2009 and 2008 respectively, and maintenance capital expenditures were $47.2 million and $54.2 million in fiscal years 2009 and 2008 respectively. Capital spending was lower in fiscal year 2009 mainly due to delayed landfill projects. We also financed $14.1 million in capital projects in fiscal year 2009 through financing lease obligations that were not included in our reported statement of cash flows as capital expenditures. We expect capital spending to be between $48.0 million and $54.0 million in fiscal year 2010.

        On April 29, 2005, we entered into a senior credit facility with a group of banks for which Bank of America is acting as agent. The facility originally consisted of a senior secured revolving credit facility in the amount of $350.0 million. On July 25, 2006, we amended the facility to increase the amount to $450.0 million, and on May 9, 2007, we further amended the facility to increase the amount of the facility to $525.0 million, including a $175.0 million term B loan and a revolver of $350.0 million. This credit facility is guaranteed by substantially all of our subsidiaries and secured by certain assets, including our interest in the equity securities of our subsidiaries. The credit facility matures in April 2010. The initial borrowings under the credit facility were used to repay all outstanding indebtedness under the former credit facility. Further advances were available under the revolver in the amount of $147.8 million and $156.1 million as of April 30, 2009 and 2008, respectively. These available amounts are net of outstanding irrevocable letters of credit totaling $51.7 million and $40.4 million as of April 30, 2009 and 2008, respectively. As of April 30, 2009 and 2008, no amounts had been drawn under the outstanding letters of credit.

        We have historically entered into interest rate derivative agreements to balance fixed and floating rate debt interest risk in accordance with management's criteria. The agreements are contracts to exchange fixed and floating interest rate payments periodically over a specified term without the exchange of the underlying notional amounts. The agreements provide only for the exchange of interest on the notional amounts at the stated rates, with no multipliers or leverage. Differences paid or received over the life of the agreements are recorded in the consolidated financial statements as additions to or reductions of interest expense on the underlying debt.

        Our outstanding derivative agreements at April 30, 2009 have a total notional value of $165.0 million and require us to pay interest based on changes in LIBOR and receive interest at a fixed rate of approximately 4.55%. Our derivative agreements mature in May 2009.

        In accordance with SFAS No. 133, the fair value of our derivative contracts deemed to be effective cash flow hedges was an obligation $3.0 million and $.03 million, with the net amount (net of income tax benefit of $1.2 million and $.01 million) recorded as an unrealized loss in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively. In fiscal year 2009 we recorded

55


Table of Contents


interest expense amounting to $1.0 million associated with interest rate derivative contracts deemed to be ineffective.

        As of April 30, 2009, we had outstanding $195.0 million of 9.75% senior subordinated notes (the "notes") which mature in February 2013. The senior subordinated note indenture contains covenants that restrict dividends, stock repurchases and other payments, and limits the incurrence of debt and issuance of preferred stock. The notes are guaranteed jointly and severally, fully and unconditionally by our significant wholly-owned subsidiaries.

        On December 28, 2005, we completed a $25.0 million financing transaction involving the issuance by the Finance Authority of Maine (the "Authority") of $25.0 million aggregate principal amount of its Solid Waste Disposal Revenue Bonds (Casella Waste Systems, Inc. Project) Series 2005 (the "Bonds"). The Bonds are issued pursuant to an indenture, dated as of December 1, 2005 (the "Indenture") and are enhanced by an irrevocable, transferable direct-pay letter of credit issued by Bank of America, N.A. Pursuant to a Financing Agreement, dated as of December 1, 2005, by and between us and the Authority, we have borrowed the proceeds of the Bonds to pay for certain costs relating to (1) landfill development and construction, vehicle, container and related equipment acquisition for solid waste collection and transportation services, improvements to existing solid waste disposal, hauling, transfer station and other facilities, other infrastructure improvements, and machinery and equipment for solid waste disposal operations owned and operated by us, or a related party, all located in Maine; and (2) the issuance of the Bonds.

        On August 13, 2007, we redeemed all of the outstanding shares of our Series A Preferred Stock, pursuant to the mandatory redemption requirements set forth in the Certificate of Designation for the Series A Preferred Stock. The shares were redeemed at an aggregate redemption price of $75.1 million, which was the liquidation value equal to the original price plus accrued but unpaid dividends through the date of redemption. The redemption of the Series A Preferred Stock was effected through cash payouts by us of the redemption price upon receipt of stock certificates and other related documentation from the holders thereof. We borrowed against the senior credit facility to fund this redemption.

        Net cash provided by operating activities in fiscal years ended April 30, 2009 and 2008 amounted to $77.5 million and $71.2 million, respectively. Fiscal year 2009 net loss adjusted for impairment charges, loss on disposal of discontinued operations, loss from discontinued operations, environmental remediation charge and development project charges totaled ($8.0) million. This resulted in a decrease of $5.9 million when compared to the fiscal year 2008 total of ($2.1) million. Lower depreciation and amortization in fiscal year 2009 versus fiscal 2008 resulted in a $5.1 million decrease. Landfill amortization expense decreased by $5.4 million primarily due to lower volumes as result of the planned closure of our Colebrook facility, which closed in the second quarter of fiscal year 2009, as well as the ramp-down of landfill volumes at the Pine Tree landfill, partially offset by an increase in amortization at our Worcester facility due to increased volumes. The increase in deferred taxes in fiscal year 2009 versus 2008 was primarily associated with the deferred tax asset valuation allowance resulting in a $11.2 million increase. Changes in assets and liabilities, net of effects of acquisitions and divestitures, increased $6.8 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to fiscal year 2008. Changes in accounts receivable amounted to a $11.0 million increase in fiscal year 2009 compared to fiscal year 2008 primarily due to lower revenues. Changes in accounts payable in fiscal year 2009 amounted to $17.1 million of cash used compared with $0.5 million used in the prior year due to lower operating costs and lower capital expenditures. Lower restricted cash amounts at April 30, 2009 due to the liquidation of assets held in trust as collateral for the Company's financial obligations relative to its self insurance claims liability amounted to a $14.0 million increase in cash.

        Changes in prepaid expenses, inventories and other assets amounted to cash provided of $3.7 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to cash provided of $0.4 million in fiscal year 2008. The

56


Table of Contents


increase in cash provided of $3.2 million from the prior year is due primarily to the following: (1) changes in prepaid expenses associated with the timing of insurance payments, prepaid consulting and payroll fundings amounting to a $1.7 million increase and (2) lower net refundable income taxes at April 30, 2009, amounting to a $1.5 million increase. Changes in accrued expenses and other liabilities amounted to cash used of $16.5 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to cash used of $10.3 million in fiscal year 2008. The increase in cash used of $6.2 million is due primarily to the following (1) reductions associated with higher payroll accruals at April 30, 2008 amounting to $9.9 million, (2) higher payments for landfill capping, closure and post-closure in fiscal year 2009 versus the prior year amounting to $0.8 million, (3) lower accrued interest at April 30, 2009 associated with lower interest rates and the timing of borrowings partially offset by higher average debt levels amounting to a $1.7 million decrease, offset by (4) higher other long-term liabilities at April 30, 2007 associated with the Maine Energy settlement which took place in fiscal year 2008 resulting in a $3.1 million increase and (5) an increase of $4.0 million associated with other accrued expenses due to higher accruals for capital projects at April 30, 2007.

        Net cash used in investing activities was $65.4 million in fiscal year 2009 compared to $85.7 million used in investing activities in fiscal year 2008. The decrease in cash used in investing activities was due to (1) lower capital expenditures in fiscal year 2009 of $15.4 million, (2) lower acquisition activity in the current year amounting to $9.5 million due primarily to the final earnout payment associated with Blue Mountain Recycling, LLC in fiscal year 2008 (3) lower fiscal year 2009 payments on landfill operating lease contracts amounting to a $2.0 million decrease in cash used, offset by (4) higher investments in unconsolidated entities in fiscal year 2009 versus fiscal year 2008 amounting to $2.4 million (5) lower proceeds from assets under contractual obligations in fiscal year 2009 amounting to $1.5 million and (6) lower proceeds from divestitures and sale of equipment in fiscal year 2009 amounting to $2.8 million.

        Net cash used in financing activities was $13.1 million for fiscal year 2009 compared to $4.0 provided in fiscal year 2008. The increase in cash used by financing activities is primarily due to reductions in the Company's long term debt.

        In fiscal year 2009, we acquired three solid waste hauling operations in exchange for $2.4 million in cash consideration. In fiscal year 2008, we acquired five solid waste hauling operations. These transactions were in exchange for total consideration of $1.2 million, including $0.8 million in cash and $0.4 in notes payable to seller. We also made a final earnout payment of $11.1 million to the members of Blue Mountain Recycling, LLC which was acquired in fiscal year 2006. For the landfill operating lease contracts, we made payments totaling $5.1 million, $7.1 million and $5.0 million in fiscal years 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively.

        We have filed a universal shelf registration statement with the SEC. We may from time to time issue securities thereunder in an amount of up to $250.0 million. Our ability and willingness to issue securities pursuant to this registration statement will depend on market conditions at the time of any such desired offering and therefore we may not be able to issue such securities on favorable terms, if at all.

57


Table of Contents

        The following table summarizes our significant contractual obligations and commitments as of April 30, 2009 (in thousands) and the anticipated effect of these obligations on our liquidity in future years:

 
  Fiscal Year(s) ending April 30,  
 
  2010   2011-2012   2013-2014   Thereafter   Total  

Long-term debt(1)

  $ 519,443   $ 1,087   $ 288   $ 25,000   $ 545,818  

Financing lease obligations

    1,344     3,012     3,498     5,771     13,625  

Interest obligations(2)

    10,633     3,274     2,703     8,631     25,241  

Operating leases(3)

    12,869     41,777     16,670     86,253     157,569  

Capping / closure / post-closure

    6,426     11,398     12,536     89,056     119,416  
                       

Total contractual cash obligations(4)

  $ 550,715   $ 60,548   $ 35,695   $ 214,711   $ 816,669  
                       

(1)
We are considering debt obligations under our senior secured credit facility and senior subordinated notes as being due effective July 31, 2009 assuming we are unsuccessful in refinancing our senior secured credit facility resulting in default and accelerated maturity. Interest obligations on this debt also considers the accelerated maturity.

(2)
Interest obligations based on debt and capital lease balances as of April 30, 2009. Interest obligations related to variable rate debt were calculated using variable rates in effect at April 30, 2009. Included in interest obligations are obligations associated with interest rate derivative agreements amounting to $1,120 for fiscal year ending April 30, 2009. Obligations related to interest rate derivative agreements were calculated using the appropriate variable interest index in effect at April 30, 2009.

(3)
Includes obligations related to landfill operating lease contracts.

(4)
Contractual cash obligations do not include accounts payable or accrued liabilities, which will be paid in fiscal year 2010.

        In addition to the above obligations, we have unrecognized tax benefits at April 30, 2009 of approximately $0.7 million. Due to the uncertainty with respect to the timing of future cash flows associated with the unrecognized tax benefits at April 30, 2009, we are unable to make reasonably reliable estimates as to the timing of cash settlements.

Inflation and Prevailing Economic Conditions

        To date, inflation has not had a significant impact on our operations. Consistent with industry practice, most of our contracts provide for a pass-through of certain costs, including increases in landfill tipping fees and, in some cases, fuel costs. We have implemented a fuel surcharge program, which is designed to recover fuel price fluctuations. We therefore believe we should be able to implement price increases sufficient to offset most cost increases resulting from inflation. However, competitive factors may require us to absorb at least a portion of these cost increases, particularly during periods of high inflation.

        Our business is located mainly in the eastern United States. Therefore, our business, financial condition and results of operations are susceptible to downturns in the general economy in this geographic region and other factors affecting the region, such as state regulations and severe weather conditions. We are unable to forecast or determine the timing and/or the future impact of a sustained economic slowdown.

58


Table of Contents

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

        The preparation of our financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. On an on-going basis, management evaluates its estimates and judgments which are based on historical experience and on various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. The results of their evaluation form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions and circumstances. Our significant accounting policies are more fully discussed in the Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements contained elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

Landfills

        The cost estimates for capping, closure and post-closure activities at landfills for which we have responsibility are estimated based on our interpretations of current requirements and proposed or anticipated regulatory changes. We also estimate additional costs, pursuant to the requirements of SFAS No. 143, Accounting for Asset Retirement Obligations ("SFAS No. 143"), based on the amount a third party would charge us to perform such activities even when we expect to perform these activities internally. We estimate the airspace to be consumed related to each capping event and the timing of construction related to each capping event and of closure and post-closure activities. Because landfill capping, closure and post-closure obligations are measured at estimated fair value using present value techniques, changes in the estimated timing of construction of future landfill capping and closure and post-closure activities would have an effect on these liabilities, related assets and results of operations.

        Units-of-consumption amortization rates are determined annually for each of our operating landfills. The rates are based on estimates provided by our engineers and accounting personnel and consider the information provided by airspace surveys, which are performed at least annually. Significant changes in our estimates could materially increase our landfill depletion rates, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Landfill Development Costs

        We estimate the total cost to develop each of our landfill sites to its remaining permitted and expansion capacity. This estimate includes such costs as landfill liner material and installation, excavation for airspace, landfill leachate collection systems, landfill gas collection systems, environmental monitoring equipment for groundwater and landfill gas, directly related engineering, capitalized interest, on-site road construction and other capital infrastructure costs. Additionally, landfill development includes all land purchases for landfill footprint and required landfill buffer property. The projection of these landfill costs is dependent, in part, on future events. The remaining amortizable basis of each landfill includes costs to develop a site to its remaining permitted and expansion capacity and includes amounts previously expended and capitalized, net of accumulated airspace amortization, and projections of future purchase and development costs.

        Under life-cycle accounting, all costs related to acquisition and construction of landfill sites are capitalized and charged to income based on tonnage placed into each site. Landfill permitting, acquisition and preparation costs are amortized on the units-of-consumption method as landfill airspace is consumed. In determining the amortization rate for these landfills, preparation costs include the total estimated costs to complete construction of the landfills' permitted and expansion capacity.

59


Table of Contents

Landfill Capping Costs

        Capping includes installation of liners, drainage, compacted soil layers and topsoil over areas of a landfill where total airspace has been consumed and waste is no longer being received. Capping activities occur throughout the life of the landfill. Our engineering personnel estimate the cost for each capping event based on the acreage to be capped and the capping materials and activities required. The estimates also consider when these costs would actually be paid and factor in inflation and discount rates. The engineers then quantify the landfill capacity associated with each capping event and the costs for each event are amortized over that capacity as waste is received at the landfill.

Landfill Closure and Post-Closure

        Closure and post-closure costs represent future estimated costs related to monitoring and maintenance of a solid waste landfill, after a landfill facility ceases to accept waste and closes. We estimate, based on input from our engineers, accounting personnel and consultants, our future cost requirements for closure and post-closure monitoring and maintenance based on our interpretation of the technical standards of the Subtitle D regulations and the air emissions standards under the Clean Air Act as they are being applied on a state-by-state basis. Closure and post-closure accruals for the cost of monitoring and maintenance include site inspection, groundwater monitoring, leachate management, methane gas control and recovery, and operation and maintenance costs to be incurred for a period which is generally for a term of 30 years after final closure of a landfill. Significant reductions in our estimates of the remaining lives of our landfills or significant increases in our estimates of the landfill closure and post-closure maintenance costs could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In determining estimated future closure and post-closure costs, we consider costs associated with permitted and expansion airspace.

Remaining Permitted Airspace

        Our engineers, in consultation with third-party engineering consultants and surveyors, are responsible for determining remaining permitted airspace at our landfills. The remaining permitted airspace is determined by an annual survey, which is then used to compare the existing landfill topography to the expected final landfill topography.

Expansion Airspace

        We include currently unpermitted expansion airspace in our estimate of remaining permitted and expansion airspace in certain circumstances. To be considered expansion airspace all of the following criteria must be met:

        For unpermitted airspace to be initially included in our estimate of remaining permitted and expansion airspace, the expansion effort must meet all of the criteria listed above. These criteria are annually evaluated by our engineers, accountants, managers and others to identify potential obstacles to obtaining the permits. Once the remaining permitted and expansion airspace is determined in cubic

60


Table of Contents


yards, an airspace utilization factor, or AUF, is established to calculate the remaining permitted and expansion capacity in tons. The AUF is established using the measured density obtained from previous annual surveys. When we include the expansion airspace in our calculations of remaining permitted and expansion airspace, we also include the projected costs for development, as well as the projected asset retirement cost related to capping, and closure and post-closure of the expansion in the amortization basis of the landfill.

        After determining the costs and remaining permitted and expansion capacity at each of our landfills, we determine the per ton rates that will be expensed as waste is received and deposited at the landfill by dividing the costs by the corresponding number of tons. We calculate per ton amortization rates for each landfill for assets associated with each capping event, for assets related to closure and post-closure activities and for all other costs capitalized or to be capitalized in the future. These rates per ton are updated annually, or more often, as significant facts change.

        It is possible that actual results, including the amount of costs incurred, the timing of capping, closure and post-closure activities, our airspace utilization or the success of our expansion efforts could ultimately turn out to be significantly different from our estimates and assumptions. To the extent that such estimates, or related assumptions, prove to be significantly different than actual results, lower profitability may be experienced due to higher amortization rates, higher capping, closure or post-closure rates, or higher expenses; or higher profitability may result if the opposite occurs. Most significantly, if it is determined that the expansion capacity should no longer be considered in calculating the recoverability of the landfill asset, we may be required to recognize an asset impairment. If it is determined that the likelihood of receiving an expansion permit has become remote, the capitalized costs related to the expansion effort are expensed immediately.

Environmental Remediation Liabilities

        Our environmental liabilities are accounted for in accordance with SFAS No. 5, Accounting for Contingencies ("SFAS No. 5") and SOP No. 96-1, Environmental Remediation Liabilities ("SOP 96-1"). The recorded liabilities represent our estimate of the most likely outcome of the matters for which we have determined liability is probable. These liabilities include potentially responsible party, or PRP, investigations, settlements, certain legal and consultant fees, as well as costs directly associated with site investigation and clean up, such as materials and incremental internal costs directly related to the remedy. We provide for expenses associated with environmental remediation obligations when such amounts are probable and can be reasonably estimated. We estimate costs required to remediate sites where it is probable that a liability has been incurred based on site-specific facts and circumstances. Estimates of the cost for the likely remedy are developed using third-party environmental engineers or other service providers.

Goodwill and Other Intangibles

        In accordance with SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, we do not amortize goodwill and annually assess goodwill impairment at the end of the fourth quarter of our fiscal year by applying a fair value test. In the first step of testing for goodwill impairment, we estimate the fair value of each reporting unit, which we have determined to be our geographic operating segments and FCR, and compare the fair value with the carrying value of the net assets assigned to each reporting unit. We test goodwill at this reporting unit level because the business is managed and reported at this level. If the fair value is less than its carrying value, then we would perform a second step and determine the fair value of the goodwill. In this second step, the fair value of goodwill is determined by deducting the fair value of a reporting unit's identifiable assets and liabilities from the fair value of the reporting unit as a whole, as if that reporting unit had just been acquired and the purchase price were being initially allocated. If the fair value of the goodwill is less than its carrying value for a reporting unit, an impairment charge would be recorded to earnings.

61


Table of Contents

        To determine the fair value of each of our reporting units as a whole we use discounted cash flow analyses, which require significant assumptions and estimates about the future operations of each reporting unit. Significant judgments inherent in this analysis include the determination of appropriate discount rates, the amount and timing of expected future cash flows and growth rates. The cash flows employed in our discounted cash flow analyses are based on financial forecasts developed internally by management. Our discount rate assumptions are based on an assessment of our risk adjusted discount rate applicable for each reporting unit. In assessing the reasonableness of our determined fair values of our reporting units, we evaluate our results against our current market capitalization.

        In addition, we would evaluate a reporting unit for impairment if events or circumstances change between annual tests indicating a possible impairment. Examples of such events or circumstances include the following:

Recovery of Long-Lived Assets

        In accordance with SFAS No. 144, Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets, ("SFAS No. 144") we review our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the remaining estimated useful life of such assets might warrant revision or that the balances may not be recoverable. If undiscounted cash flows are insufficient to recover the net book value of long-term assets including amortizable intangible assets, further analysis is performed in order to determine the amount of the impairment. In such circumstances an impairment loss would be recorded equal to the amount by which the net book value of the assets exceeds fair value. Fair value is usually determined based on the present value of estimated expected future cash flows using a discount rate commensurate with the risks involved.

Bad Debt Allowance

        Estimates are used in determining our allowance for bad debts and are based on our historical collection experience, current trends, credit policy and a review of our accounts receivable by aging category. Our reserve is evaluated and revised on a monthly basis.

Self-Insurance Liabilities and Related Costs

        We are self insured for vehicles and workers compensation. The liability for unpaid claims and associated expenses, including incurred but not reported losses, is determined by management with the assistance of a third party actuary and reflected in our consolidated balance sheet as an accrued liability. We use a third party to track and evaluate actual claims experience for consistency with the data used in the annual actuarial valuation. The actuarially determined liability is calculated in part by reference to past claims experience, which considers both the frequency and settlement amount of claims.

Income Tax Accruals

        We record income taxes in accordance with SFAS No. 109, Accounting for Income Taxes ("SFAS No. 109"). Under SFAS No. 109, deferred income taxes are recognized based on the expected future tax consequences of differences between the financial statement basis and the tax basis of assets and

62


Table of Contents


liabilities, calculated using currently enacted tax rates. Management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against our net deferred tax assets. We record net deferred tax assets to the extent we believe these assets will more likely than not be realized. In making this determination, we consider all available positive and negative evidence, including scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, projected future taxable income, tax planning strategies and recent financial operations. In the event we determine that we would be able to realize our deferred income tax assets in the future in excess of their net recorded amount, we will make an adjustment to the valuation allowance which would reduce the provision for income taxes.

        We account for income tax uncertainties under FASB Interpretation 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes, which provides guidance on the recognition, de-recognition and measurement of potential tax benefits associated with tax positions. We recognize interest and penalties relating to income tax matters as a component of income tax expense. Evaluating and estimating our uncertain tax positions and tax benefits is based on our judgment. If our judgments and estimates are incorrect, our provision for income taxes would change.

        We are subject to examination or administrative review by various state and federal taxing authorities. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and income tax regulations are a complex set of rules that we are required to interpret and apply to our transactions. Tax positions taken may be subject to challenge. Accordingly, we may have exposure for additional tax liabilities arising from these audits if any positions taken by us are disallowed by the taxing authorities.

Loss Contingencies

        We are subject to various legal proceedings, claims and regulatory matters, the outcomes of which are subject to significant uncertainty. Consistent with SFAS No. 5, we determine whether to disclose or accrue for loss contingencies based on an assessment of whether the risk of loss is remote, reasonably possible or probable, and whether it can be reasonably estimated. We analyze our litigation and regulatory matters based on available information to assess the potential liabilities. Management's assessment is developed based on an analysis of possible outcomes under various strategies. We accrue for loss contingencies when such amounts are probable and reasonably estimable. If a contingent liability is only reasonably possible, we will disclose the potential range of the loss, if estimable. Actual costs can vary from our estimates for a variety of reasons including differing interpretations of laws, opinions on culpability and assessments of the amount of damages.

        Loss contingency assumptions involve judgments that are inherently subjective and generally involve business matters that are by their nature unpredictable. If a loss contingency results in an adverse judgment or is settled for significant amounts, it could have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial position, result of operations or cash flows in the period in which such judgment or settlement occurs. We record losses related to contingencies in cost of operations or selling, general and administrative expenses, depending on the nature of the underlying transaction leading to the loss contingency.

Stock-Based Compensation

        Effective May 1, 2006, we adopted the provisions of SFAS 123(R), Share-Based Payment, for our share-based compensation plans. We previously accounted for these plans under the recognition and measurement principles of APB No. 25 and related interpretations and disclosure requirements established by SFAS 123, Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation. We adopted SFAS 123(R) using the modified prospective method. Under this method, all share-based compensation cost is measured at the grant date, based on the estimated fair value of the award, and is recognized as expense over the employee's requisite service period. Prior periods are not restated.

63


Table of Contents

        Consistent with prior years, we used the Black-Scholes option pricing model which requires extensive use of accounting judgment and financial estimation, including estimates of the expected term option holders will retain their vested stock options before exercising them, the estimated volatility of our common stock price over the expected term, and the number of options that will be forfeited prior to the completion of their vesting requirements. Application of alternative assumptions could produce significantly different estimates of the fair value of stock-based compensation and consequently the related amounts recognized in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.

New Accounting Standards

        Effective May 1, 2008, the Company adopted SFAS No. 157, Fair Value Measurements ("SFAS No. 157") as it relates to financial assets and liabilities that are being measured and reported at fair value on a recurring basis. In February 2008, the FASB issued FASB Staff Position No. 157-2, Effective Date of FASB Statement No. 157 ("FSP 157-2"), to allow filers to defer the effective date of SFAS No. 157 for one year for nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities that are recognized or disclosed at fair value in the financial statements on a nonrecurring basis. FSP 157-2 does not defer recognition and disclosure requirements for financial assets and financial liabilities or for nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities that are remeasured at least annually. The Company is currently evaluating the impact this statement will have on its financial position and results of operations.

        In February 2007, the FASB issued SFAS No. 159, The Fair Value Option for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities—Including an amendment of FASB Statement No. 155 ("SFAS No. 159"). SFAS No. 159 provides companies with an option to report selected financial assets and liabilities at fair value. A company shall report unrealized gains and losses on items for which the fair value option has been elected in earnings at each subsequent reporting date. Upfront costs and fees related to items for which the fair value option is elected are recognized in earnings as incurred and not deferred. SFAS No. 159 is effective as of the beginning of an entity's first fiscal year that begins after November 15, 2007. The Company adopted this statement on May 1, 2008, but it did not have any impact on the Company's financial position or results of operations as the Company did not make any fair value elections under this standard.

        In December 2007, the FASB issued SFAS No. 141(R), Business Combinations (revised—2007) ("SFAS No. 141(R)"). SFAS No. 141(R) is a revision to previously existing guidance on accounting for business combinations. The statement retains the fundamental concept of the purchase method of accounting, and introduces new requirements for the recognition and measurement of assets acquired, liabilities assumed and noncontrolling interests. SFAS No. 141(R) also requires acquisition-related transaction and restructuring costs to be expensed rather than treated as part of the cost of the acquisition. SFAS No. 141(R) applies prospectively to business combinations for which the acquisition date is on or after the beginning of the first annual reporting period beginning on or after December 15, 2008. The impact of adoption of this statement on the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements is dependent on the nature and volume of future acquisitions, and, therefore, cannot be determined at this time.

        In March 2008, the FSB issued SFAS No. 161, Disclosures about Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities ("SFAS No. 161"). SFAS No. 161 amends and expands the disclosure requirements of SFAS No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities, and requires entities to provide enhanced qualitative disclosures about objectives and strategies for using derivatives, quantitative disclosures about fair values and amounts of gains and losses on derivative contracts, and disclosures about credit-risk-related contingent features in derivative agreements. This statement applies to all entities and all derivative instruments. SFAS No. 161 is effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years and interim periods beginning after November 15, 2008. As SFAS No. 161 relates specifically to disclosures, the adoption will have no impact on the Company's financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

64


Table of Contents

        In April 2008, the FASB issued FSP No. 142-3, Determination of the Useful Life of Intangible Assets ("FSP FAS No. 142-3"). FSP FAS No. 142-3 amends the factors that should be considered in developing renewal or extension assumptions used to determine the useful life of a recognized intangible asset under FASB Statement No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets ("SFAS No. 142"). FSP FAS No. 142-3 is intended to improve the consistency between the useful life of a recognized intangible asset under SFAS No. 142 and the period of expected cash flows used to measure the fair value of the asset under SFAS No. 141(R) and other U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. FSP FAS No. 142-3 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2008. The Company does not expect the adoption of FSP FAS No. 142-3 to have a material impact on its financial position or results of operations.

ITEM 7A.    QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURE ABOUT MARKET RISK

Interest Rate Volatility

        We had interest rate risk relating to approximately $188.7 million of the current maturities of long-term debt at April 30, 2009. The interest rate on the variable rate portion of this debt was approximately 2.61% at April 30, 2009. Should the average interest rate on the variable rate portion of this debt change by 100 basis points, our annual interest expense would increase or decrease by $1.9 million.

        The remainder of the current maturities of long-term debt is at fixed rates and not subject to interest rate risk. This includes $165.0 million at fixed rates through interest rate swaps and collars.

Commodity price volatility

        Through its FCR recycling operation, we market a variety of materials, including fibers such as OCC (cardboard) and ONP (newspaper), plastics, glass, ferrous and aluminum metals. We use a number of strategies to mitigate impacts from commodity price fluctuations such as indexed purchases, floor prices, fixed price agreements, and revenue share arrangements. In addition, as of April 30, 2009 we are party to 25 commodity hedge contracts that manage pricing fluctuations on a portion of our OCC and ONP volumes. These contracts expire between June 2009 and December 2011. We do not use financial instruments for trading purposes and are not a party to any leveraged derivatives. We expect to be able to replace our expiring hedges with existing or new counterparties; however, the availability and pricing terms at any given time will be subject to prevailing market conditions.

        If commodity prices were to have changed by 10% in the year ended April 30, 2009, the impact on our operating income is estimated at between $1.1 million and $1.6 million based on the observed impact of commodity price changes on operating income margin during the years ended April 30, 2009 and April 30, 2008. Our sensitivity to changes in commodity prices is complex because each customer contract is unique relative to revenue sharing, tipping or processing fees and other arrangements. The above estimated ranges of operating income impact may not be indicative of future operating results and actual results may vary materially.

65


Table of Contents

ITEM 8.    FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

Management's Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

        The Company's management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Exchange Act. Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate. The Company's management assessed the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of April 30, 2009. In making this assessment, the Company's management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control-Integrated Framework. Based on its assessment, management concluded that, as of April 30, 2009, the Company's internal control over financial reporting is effective based on those criteria. The effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of April 30, 2009 has been audited by Caturano and Company, P.C., an independent registered public accounting firm. Caturano and Company, P.C. has issued an attestation report on the Company's internal control over financial reporting, which is included herein.

66


Table of Contents


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders
of Casella Waste Systems, Inc.:

        We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Casella Waste Systems, Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) as of April 30, 2009 and 2008, and the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders' equity and comprehensive loss, and cash flows for the years ended April 30, 2009, 2008 and 2007. We have also audited the financial statement schedule for the years ended April 30, 2009, 2008 and 2007 listed in Item 15(a)(2) of this Form 10-K. We also have audited the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of April 30, 2009, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). The Company's management is responsible for these financial statements, the financial statement schedule, and for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management's Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements and schedule and an opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audits.

        We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audits of the financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

        A company's internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company's internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company's assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

        Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

        In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of Casella Waste Systems, Inc. and subsidiaries as of April 30, 2009 and 2008, and the consolidated results of their operations, and their cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended April 30, 2009 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. In addition, in our opinion, the financial

67


Table of Contents


statement schedule listed in Item 15(a)(2) of this Form 10-K presents fairly, in all material respects, the information set forth therein when read in conjunction with the related consolidated financial statements. Also in our opinion, Casella Waste Systems, Inc. and subsidiaries maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of April 30, 2009, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).

        The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company had an approximate $523 million working capital deficit at April 30, 2009 due primarily to the fact that the Company's outstanding senior secured revolving credit facility and senior secured term B loan (together, "Senior Secured Debt") in the aggregate principal amount of approximately $324 million, due April 28, 2010, and the Company's senior subordinated notes (the "Notes") in the aggregate principal amount of approximately $195 million, due in February 2013, are classified as current liabilities on the April 30, 2009 consolidated balance sheet. The Company does not currently expect to be in compliance with certain financial covenants contained within the Senior Secured Debt agreements following the waiver period (see Note 11) and an event of default of the Senior Secured Debt could trigger an accelerated redemption of the Notes. The Company will be unable to repay these obligations in accordance with their contractual (or accelerated) terms without either refinancing portions or all of the debt or obtaining additional debt or equity. There can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in these efforts, which raises substantial doubt as to the Company's ability to continue as a going concern. Management's plans concerning these matters are also discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements. The consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty.

        As discussed in Note 17 to the consolidated financial statements, the company adopted FASB Interpretation No. 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes, effective May 1, 2007.

/s/ Caturano and Company, P.C.

Boston, Massachusetts
June 15, 2009

68


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(in thousands)

 
  April 30, 2008   April 30, 2009  

ASSETS

             

CURRENT ASSETS:

             
 

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 2,814   $ 1,838  
 

Restricted cash

    95     508  
 

Accounts receivable—trade, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $1,752 and $2,014

    62,233     51,296  
 

Notes receivable—officer/employees

    132     136  
 

Refundable income taxes

    2,020     1,195  
 

Prepaid expenses

    6,930     6,679  
 

Inventory

    3,876     3,114  
 

Deferred income taxes

    15,433     4,392  
 

Other current assets

    1,692     7,577  
 

Current assets of discontinued operations

    260      
           

Total current assets

    95,485     76,735  

Property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization of $484,620 and $549,952

   
488,028
   
490,360
 

Goodwill

    179,716     125,709  

Intangible assets, net

    2,608     2,635  

Restricted assets

    13,563     127  

Notes receivable—officer/employees

    1,101     1,128  

Deferred income taxes

        428  

Investments in unconsolidated entities

    44,617     41,798  

Other non-current assets

    10,487     12,042  

Non-current assets of discontinued operations

    482      
           

    740,602     674,227  
           

 
$

836,087
 
$

750,962
 
           

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

69


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Continued)

(in thousands, except for share and per share data)

 
  April 30, 2008   April 30, 2009  

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

             

CURRENT LIABILITIES:

             
 

Current maturities of long-term debt and capital leases

  $ 2,758   $ 522,467  
 

Current maturities of financing lease obligations

        1,344  
 

Accounts payable

    51,731     34,623  
 

Accrued payroll and related expenses

    11,251     4,180  
 

Accrued interest

    8,668     6,407  
 

Current accrued capping, closure and post-closure costs

    9,265     6,426  
 

Other accrued liabilities

    28,202     22,337  
 

Current liabilities of discontinued operations

    949      
           

Total current liabilities

    112,824     597,784  

Long-term debt and capital leases, less current maturities

   
559,227
   
26,396
 

Financing lease obligations, less current maturities

        12,281  

Accrued capping, closure and post-closure costs, less current portion

    32,864     35,464  

Deferred income taxes

    313     2,684  

Other long-term liabilities

    6,007     10,043  

Non-current liabilities of discontinued operations

    170      

COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES

             

STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY:

             

Class A common stock—

             
 

Authorized—100,000,000 shares, $0.01 par value; issued and outstanding—24,466,000 and 24,679,000 shares as of April 30, 2008 and April 30, 2009, respectively

    245     247  

Class B common stock—

             
 

Authorized—1,000,000 shares, $0.01 par value, 10 votes per share, issued and outstanding—988,000 shares

    10     10  

Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

    (2,568 )   3,828  

Additional paid-in capital

    276,189     279,444  

Accumulated deficit

    (149,194 )   (217,219 )
           

Total stockholders' equity

    124,682     66,310  
           

 
$

836,087
 
$

750,962
 
           

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

70


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in thousands)

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Revenues

  $ 531,325   $ 579,517   $ 554,241  

Operating expenses:

                   
 

Cost of operations

    347,550     383,009     372,178  
 

General and administration

    73,202     74,184     67,846  
 

Depreciation and amortization

    70,748     77,769     72,677  
 

Goodwill impairment charge

            55,286  
 

Environmental remediation charge

            4,356  
 

Hardwick impairment and closing charges

    26,892     1,400      
 

Development project charges

    752     534     355  
               

   
519,144
   
536,896
   
572,698
 
               

Operating (loss) income

   
12,181
   
42,621
   
(18,457

)

Other expense/(income), net:

                   
 

Interest income

    (1,265 )   (1,354 )   (728 )
 

Interest expense

    38,392     42,859     39,767  
 

Loss (income) from equity method investments

    (1,051 )   6,077     2,157  
 

Other income

    (571 )   (2,690 )   (792 )
               

Other expense, net

   
35,505
   
44,892
   
40,404
 
               

Loss from continuing operations before income taxes and discontinued operations

   
(23,324

)
 
(2,271

)
 
(58,861

)

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

    (7,849 )   1,746     9,119  
               

Loss from continuing operations before discontinued operations

   
(15,475

)
 
(4,017

)
 
(67,980

)

Discontinued Operations:

                   
 

Loss from discontinued operations (net of income tax benefit of $1,029, $990 and $8)

    (1,691 )   (1,705 )   (11 )
 

Loss on disposal of discontinued operations (net of income tax benefit (provision) of $449, $1,130 and ($262))

    (717 )   (2,113 )   (34 )
               

Net loss

   
(17,883

)
 
(7,835

)
 
(68,025

)

Preferred stock dividend

    3,588          
               

Net loss applicable to common stockholders

  $ (21,471 ) $ (7,835 ) $ (68,025 )
               

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

71


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (Continued)

(in thousands)

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Earnings Per Share:

                   

Basic and diluted:

                   
 

Loss from continuing operations before discontinued operations applicable to common stockholders

  $ (0.75 ) $ (0.16 ) $ (2.66 )
 

Loss from discontinued operations, net

    (0.07 )   (0.07 )    
 

Loss on disposal of discontinued operations, net

    (0.03 )   (0.08 )    
               
 

Net loss per common share applicable to common stockholders

 
$

(0.85

)

$

(0.31

)

$

(2.66

)
               
 

Basic and diluted weighted average common shares outstanding

   
25,272
   
25,382
   
25,584
 
               

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

72


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF
STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY AND COMPREHENSIVE LOSS

(In thousands)

 
  Class A
Common
Stock
  Class B
Common
Stock
 
 
  # of
Shares
  Par
Value
  # of
Shares
  Par
Value
 

Balance, April 30, 2006

    24,185   $ 242     988   $ 10  

Issuance of Class A common stock from the exercise of stock options and employee stock purchase plan

    147     1          

Stock-based compensation expense

                 

Accrual of preferred stock dividend

                 

Net loss

                 

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives, commodity hedges and marketable securities, net of taxes and reclassification adjustments

                 

Total comprehensive loss

                 
                   

Balance, April 30, 2007

    24,332     243     988     10  
                   

Cumulative effect of adoption of FIN 48 as of May 1, 2007

                 

Issuance of Class A common stock from the exercise of stock options and employee stock purchase plan

   
134
   
2
   
   
 

Stock-based compensation expense

                 

Net loss

                 

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives, commodity hedges and marketable securities, net of taxes and reclassification adjustments

                 

Total comprehensive loss

                 
                   

Balance, April 30, 2008

    24,466     245     988     10  
                   

Issuance of Class A common stock from the exercise of stock options and employee stock purchase plan

    213     2          

Stock-based compensation expense

                 

Net loss

                 

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives, commodity hedges and marketable securities, net of taxes and reclassification adjustments

                 

Total comprehensive loss

                 
                   

Balance, April 30, 2009

    24,679   $ 247     988   $ 10  
                   

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

73


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF
STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY AND COMPREHENSIVE LOSS (Continued)

(In thousands)

 
  Additional
Paid-In
Capital
  Accumulated
Deficit
  Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Income (Loss)
  Total
Stockholders'
Equity
  Total
Comprehensive
Loss
 

Balance, April 30, 2006

  $ 274,297   $ (125,218 ) $ 159   $ 149,490        

Issuance of Class A common stock from the exercise of stock options and employee stock purchase plan

    1,934             1,935        

Stock-based compensation expense

    702             702        

Accrual of preferred stock dividend

    (3,588 )           (3,588 )      

Net loss

        (17,883 )       (17,883 ) $ (17,883 )

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives, commodity hedges and marketable securities, net of taxes and reclassification adjustments

            (1,160 )   (1,160 )   (1,160 )
                               

Total comprehensive loss

                  $ (19,043 )
                       

Balance, April 30, 2007

    273,345     (143,101 )   (1,001 )   129,496        
                         

Cumulative effect of adoption of FIN 48 as of May 1, 2007

   
   
1,742
   
   
1,742
       

Issuance of Class A common stock from the exercise of stock options and employee stock purchase plan

    1,468             1,470        

Stock-based compensation expense

    1,376             1,376        

Net loss

        (7,835 )       (7,835 ) $ (7,835 )

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives, commodity hedges and marketable securities, net of taxes and reclassification adjustments

            (1,567 )   (1,567 )   (1,567 )
                               

Total comprehensive loss

                  $ (9,402 )
                       

Balance, April 30, 2008

    276,189     (149,194 )   (2,568 )   124,682        
                         

Issuance of Class A common stock from the exercise of stock options and employee stock purchase plan

    1,576             1,578        

Stock-based compensation expense

    1,679             1,679        

Net loss

        (68,025 )       (68,025 ) $ (68,025 )

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives, commodity hedges and marketable securities, net of taxes and reclassification adjustments

            6,396     6,396     6,396  
                               

Total comprehensive loss

                  $ (61,629 )
                       

Balance, April 30, 2009

  $ 279,444   $ (217,219 ) $ 3,828   $ 66,310        
                         

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

74


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(in thousands)

 
  Twelve Months Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Cash Flows from Operating Activities:

                   

Net loss

  $ (17,883 ) $ (7,835 ) $ (68,025 )

Loss from discontinued operations, net

    1,691     1,705     11  

Loss on disposal of discontinued operations, net

    717     2,113     34  

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by operating activities—

                   
 

Gain on sale of equipment

    (806 )   (387 )   (352 )
 

Depreciation and amortization

    70,748     77,769     72,677  
 

Depletion of landfill operating lease obligations

    7,021     6,010     6,416  
 

Goodwill impairment charge

            55,286  
 

Environmental remediation charge

            4,356  
 

Hardwick impairment and closing charges

    26,892     1,400      
 

Development project charges

    752     534     355  
 

Income from assets under contractual obligation

    (190 )   (1,605 )   (162 )
 

Preferred stock dividend (included in interest expense)

        1,038      
 

Amortization of premium on senior notes

    (579 )   (625 )   (675 )
 

Maine Energy settlement

        (2,142 )    
 

Loss (income) from equity method investments

    (1,051 )   6,077     2,157  
 

Stock-based compensation

    702     1,376     1,679  
 

Excess tax benefit on the exercise of stock options

        (103 )   (162 )
 

Deferred income taxes

    (11,246 )   (2,373 )   8,806  
 

Changes in assets and liabilities, net of effects of acquisitions and divestitures—

                   
   

Accounts receivable

    (5,076 )   (1,476 )   11,024  
   

Accounts payable

    6,440     (470 )   (17,117 )
   

Restricted cash liquidation

            13,974  
   

Prepaid expenses, inventories and other assets

    (918 )   439     3,651  
   

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

    3,263     (10,255 )   (16,413 )
               

    95,952     75,207     145,500  
               

Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities

    80,477     71,190     77,520  
               

Cash Flows from Investing Activities:

                   
 

Acquisitions, net of cash acquired

    (2,750 )   (11,881 )   (2,394 )
 

Additions to property, plant and equipment—growth

    (36,738 )   (18,950 )   (10,570 )
 

                                                                             —maintenance

    (64,107 )   (54,224 )   (47,166 )
 

Payments on landfill operating lease contracts

    (4,995 )   (7,143 )   (5,102 )
 

Proceeds from divestitures

    7,383     2,373     670  
 

Proceeds from sale of equipment

    1,708     2,634     1,514  
 

Restricted cash from revenue bond issuance

    5,535          
 

Investment in unconsolidated entities

    (4,378 )   (156 )   (2,530 )
 

Proceeds from assets under contractual obligation

    1,072     1,660     162  
               

Net Cash Used In Investing Activities

    (97,270 )   (85,687 )   (65,416 )
               

Cash Flows from Financing Activities:

                   
 

Proceeds from long-term borrowings

    267,525     301,200     127,600  
 

Principal payments on long-term debt

    (244,171 )   (223,067 )   (142,003 )
 

Deferred financing costs

    (582 )   (554 )   (348 )
 

Redemption of Series A redeemable, convertible preferred stock

        (75,056 )    
 

Proceeds from exercise of stock options

    1,608     1,367     1,462  
 

Excess tax benefit on the exercise of stock options

        103     162  
               

Net Cash (Used in) Provided by Financing Activities

    24,380     3,993     (13,127 )
               

Discontinued Operations:

                   
 

Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities

    (667 )   402     47  
 

Provided by (Used in) Investing Activities

    (1,979 )   550      
               

Cash Provided by (Used in) Discontinued Operations

    (2,646 )   952     47  
               

Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents

    4,941     (9,552 )   (976 )

Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period

    7,425     12,366     2,814  
               

Cash and cash equivalents, end of period

  $ 12,366   $ 2,814   $ 1,838  
               

75


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (Continued)

(in thousands)

 
  Twelve Months Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Supplemental Disclosures of Cash Flow Information:

                   

Cash paid during the period for—

                   

Interest

  $ 34,307   $ 40,792   $ 40,623  

Income taxes, net of refunds

  $ 2,708   $ 1,426   $ 332  

Supplemental Disclosures of Non-Cash Investing and Financing Activities:

                   

Summary of entities acquired in purchase business combinations—

                   

Fair value of assets acquired

  $ 3,420   $ 12,305   $ 2,466  

Cash paid, net

    (2,750 )   (11,881 )   (2,394 )
               

Notes payable, liabilities assumed and holdbacks to sellers

  $ 670   $ 424   $ 72  
               

Note receivable recorded upon divestiture

  $   $ 2,500   $  
               

Property, plant and equipment acquired through financing arrangements

  $   $ 3,612   $ 14,115  
               

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

76


Table of Contents


CASELLA WASTE SYSTEMS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NOTES TO AUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

(in thousands, except for per share data)

1.     ORGANIZATION, BASIS OF PRESENTATION AND LIQUIDITY

Organization

        Casella Waste Systems, Inc. ("the Company" or "the Parent") together with its subsidiaries is a regional, integrated solid waste services company that provides collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services, primarily in the eastern United States. The Company markets recyclable metals, aluminum, plastics, paper and corrugated cardboard which have been processed at its facilities as well as recyclables purchased from third parties. The Company also generates and sells electricity under a contract at a waste-to-energy facility, Maine Energy Recovery Company LP ("Maine Energy").

Basis of Presentation and Liquidity

        The accompanying financial statements have been prepared on the basis of accounting principles applicable to a going concern, which contemplates the realization of assets and extinguishment of liabilities in the normal course of business. The Company had a net working capital deficit of $522,887 at April 30, 2009 compared to a net working capital deficit of $20,153 at April 30, 2008. The main factor accounting for the decrease in net working capital was the classification of the Company's senior secured credit facility and senior subordinated notes as current debt. As discussed further in Note 11, the Company's senior secured credit facility, including the revolving credit facility and Term B loan, are scheduled to expire on April 28, 2010. The Company has received a waiver as discussed below of various covenants under the senior secured credit facility which is in effect through July 31, 2009. If the Company is unsuccessful in refinancing before this date, it is likely that the Company will be in default under our senior secured credit facility. Default of the credit facility may trigger default under the senior subordinated notes which would result in an accelerated redemption of the notes. For this reason, the Company has classified the senior subordinated notes as current debt as of April 30, 2009.

        Given the impending expiration of the senior secured credit facility, the Company plans to refinance in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. The Company anticipates that the refinancing will be effected through a combination of a revolving credit facility, term loan B and secured bond or other offering, depending on market conditions. The refinancing will be at terms reflective of the distressed credit markets which will increase the Company's future debt service costs. The Company may also seek alternative sources of capital. The Company cannot be certain that it will be successful in refinancing its debt and may not have access to the amount of capital it requires, on favorable terms or at all. As the Company would not be able to repay its senior secured credit facility obligations in accordance with the contractual terms without either refinancing this debt or obtaining additional debt or equity, the Company's independent registered public accounting firm has issued an opinion on the Company's fiscal year 2009 consolidated financial statements that includes an explanatory paragraph that expresses substantial doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern.

        The senior revolving credit facility agreement contains covenants that may limit the Company's activities including covenants that forbid the payment of dividends on common stock. As of April 30, 2009, these covenants restricted capital expenditures to 1.75 times depreciation and landfill amortization, set a minimum net worth requirement of $95,195, a minimum interest coverage ratio of 2.25, a maximum consolidated total funded debt to consolidated EBITDA ratio of 5.25 and a maximum senior funded debt to consolidated EBITDA ratio of 3.35. In anticipation of the possibility that the Company would be required to record non-cash charges, including a goodwill impairment charge, in the Company's financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2009, the Company sought and received a waiver from our lenders on June 3, 2009 of various covenants under this credit facility which the

77


Table of Contents


Company would have otherwise breached as a result of such non-cash charges. The lenders have given the Company a waiver with respect to this and other non-cash charges; however, the waiver is only applicable to the Company's April 30, 2009 financial statements and will remain in effect through July 31, 2009. The waiver does not include a waiver of the Company's financial covenant compliance for the quarter ended July 31, 2009 and accordingly, if the Company is unable to complete its refinancing by that date, it is likely that the Company will be in default under its senior secured credit facility unless the Company seeks another waiver.

2.     SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

        A summary of the Company's significant accounting policies follows:

(a)   Principles of Consolidation

        The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries and complies with Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") Interpretation No. 46 (revised December 2003) ("FIN 46"). All significant intercompany accounts and transactions are eliminated in consolidation.

(b)   Use of Estimates and Assumptions

        The Company's preparation of its financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make certain estimates and assumptions. These estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of the contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements. The estimates and assumptions will also affect the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Summarized below are the estimates and assumptions that the Company considers to be significant in the preparation of its consolidated financial statements.

        The Company estimates the total cost to develop each of its landfill sites to its remaining permitted and expansion capacity. This estimate includes such costs as landfill liner material and installation, excavation for airspace, landfill leachate collection systems, landfill gas collection systems, environmental monitoring equipment for groundwater and landfill gas, directly related engineering, capitalized interest, on-site road construction and other capital infrastructure costs. Additionally, landfill development includes all land purchases for landfill footprint and required landfill buffer property. The projection of these landfill costs is dependent, in part, on future events. The remaining amortizable basis of each landfill includes costs to develop a site to its remaining permitted and expansion capacity and includes amounts previously expended and capitalized, net of accumulated airspace amortization, and projections of future purchase and development costs. The interest capitalization rate is based on the Company's weighted average cost of indebtedness. Interest capitalized for the years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009 was $1,397, $1,304 and $230 respectively.

        Under life-cycle accounting, all costs related to acquisition and construction of landfill sites are capitalized and charged to income based on tonnage placed into each site. Landfill permitting, acquisition and preparation costs are amortized on the units-of-consumption method as landfill airspace is consumed. In determining the amortization rate for these landfills, preparation costs include the total estimated costs to complete construction of the landfills' permitted and expansion capacity.

        The Company applies the following guidelines in determining a landfill's remaining permitted and expansion airspace:

        Remaining Permitted Airspace—The Company's engineers, in consultation with third-party engineering consultants and surveyors, are responsible for determining remaining permitted airspace at

78


Table of Contents


its landfills. The remaining permitted airspace is determined by an annual survey, which is then used to compare the existing landfill topography to the expected final landfill topography.

        Expansion Airspace—The Company includes currently unpermitted expansion airspace in its estimate of remaining permitted and expansion airspace in certain circumstances. To be considered expansion airspace all of the following criteria must be met:

        For unpermitted airspace to be initially included in the Company's estimate of remaining permitted and expansion airspace, the expansion effort must meet all of the criteria listed above. These criteria are annually evaluated by the Company's engineers, accountants, managers and others to identify potential obstacles to obtaining the permits. Once the remaining permitted and expansion airspace is determined in cubic yards, an airspace utilization factor, or AUF, is established to calculate the remaining permitted and expansion capacity in tons. The AUF is established using the measured density obtained from previous annual surveys. When the Company includes the expansion airspace in its calculation of remaining permitted and expansion airspace, it also includes the projected costs for development, as well as the projected asset retirement cost related to capping, and closure and post-closure of the expansion in the amortization basis of the landfill.

        After determining the costs and remaining permitted and expansion capacity at each of its landfills, the Company determines the per ton rates that will be expensed as waste is received and deposited at the landfill by dividing the costs by the corresponding number of tons. The Company calculates per ton amortization rates for each landfill for assets associated with each capping event, for assets related to closure and post-closure activities and for all other costs capitalized or to be capitalized in the future. These rates per ton are updated annually, or more often, as significant facts change.

        The following is a description of the Company's asset retirement activities:

        Capping Costs—Capping includes installation of liners, drainage, compacted soil layers and topsoil over areas of a landfill where total airspace has been consumed and waste is no longer being received. Capping activities occur throughout the life of the landfill. The Company's engineering personnel estimate the cost for each capping event based on the acreage to be capped and the capping materials and activities required. The estimates also consider when these costs would actually be paid and factor in inflation and discount rates. The engineers then quantify the landfill capacity associated with each capping event and the costs for each event are amortized over that capacity as waste is received at the landfill.

        Closure and Post-Closure—Closure and post-closure costs represent future estimated costs related to monitoring and maintenance of a solid waste landfill, after a landfill facility ceases to accept waste and closes. The Company estimates, based on input from its engineers, accounting personnel and consultants, its future cost requirements for closure and post-closure monitoring and maintenance based on its interpretation of the technical standards of the Subtitle D regulations and the air emissions standards under the Clean Air Act as they are being applied on a state-by-state basis. Closure and

79


Table of Contents


post-closure accruals for the cost of monitoring and maintenance include site inspection, groundwater monitoring, leachate management, methane gas control and recovery, and operation and maintenance costs to be incurred for a period which is generally for a term of 30 years after final closure of a landfill. In determining estimated future closure and post-closure costs, the Company considers costs associated with permitted and permittable airspace.

        The Company's estimates of costs to discharge capping, closure and post-closure asset retirement obligations for landfills are developed in today's dollars. These costs are then inflated to the period of performance using an estimate of inflation which is updated annually (2.8% and 3.0% for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, respectively). Capping, closure and post-closure liabilities are discounted using the credit adjusted risk-free rate in effect at the time the obligation is incurred. The weighted average rate applicable to our asset retirement obligations at April 30, 2009 is between 8.6% and 9.1%, the range of the credit adjusted risk free rates effective since the adoption of SFAS 143 in fiscal year 2004. Accretion expense is necessary to increase the accrued capping, closure and post-closure liabilities to the future anticipated obligation. To accomplish this, the Company accretes its capping, closure and post-closure accrual balances using the same credit-adjusted, risk-free rate that was used to calculate the recorded liability. Accretion expense on recorded landfill liabilities is recorded to cost of operations from the time the liability is recognized until the costs are paid. Accretion expense amounted to $2,253, $3,010 and $3,208 in fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

        The Company provides for the accrual and amortization of estimated future obligations for closure and post-closure based on tonnage placed into each site. With regards to capping, the liability is recognized and these costs are amortized based on the airspace related to the specific capping event.

        The Company operates in states which require a certain portion of landfill capping, closure and post-closure obligations to be secured by financial assurance, which may take the form of restricted cash, surety bonds and letters of credit. Surety bonds securing closure and post-closure obligations at April 30, 2008 and 2009 totaled $98,273 and $112,703 respectively. Letters of credit securing closure and post-closure obligations at April 30, 2008 and 2009 totaled $1,752 and $1,752 respectively (see Note 5 for amounts related to restricted cash).

        The Company entered into three landfill operation and management agreements in fiscal 2004 and one landfill operation and management agreement in fiscal 2006. These agreements are long-term landfill operating contracts with government bodies whereby the Company receives tipping revenue, pays normal operating expenses and assumes future capping, closure and post-closure liabilities. The government body retains ownership of the landfill. There is no bargain purchase option and title to the property does not pass to the Company at the end of the lease term. The Company allocates the consideration paid to the landfill airspace rights and underlying land lease based on the relative fair values.

        In addition to up-front or one-time payments, the landfill operating agreements require the Company to make future minimum rental payments, including success/expansion fees, other direct costs and capping, closure, and post closure costs. The value of all future minimum lease payments are amortized and charged to cost of operations over the life of the contract. The Company amortizes the consideration allocated to airspace rights as airspace is utilized on a units-of-consumption basis and such amortization is charged to cost of operations as airspace is consumed i.e. as tons are placed into the landfill. The underlying value of the land lease is amortized to cost of operations on a straight-line basis over the estimated life of the operating agreement.

        The Company's environmental liabilities are accounted for in accordance with SFAS No.5, Accounting for Contingencies ("SFAS No. 5") and SOP No. 96-1, Environmental Remediation Liabilities ("SOP 96-1"). The recorded liabilities represents the Company's estimate of the most likely outcome of

80


Table of Contents

the matters for which the Company has determined liability is probable. These liabilities include potentially responsible party, or PRP, investigations, settlements, certain legal and consultant fees, as well as costs directly associated with site investigation and clean up, such as materials and incremental internal costs directly related to the remedy. The Company provides for expenses associated with environmental remediation obligations when such amounts are probable and can be reasonably estimated. The Company estimates costs required to remediate sites where it is probable that a liability has been incurred based on site-specific facts and circumstances. Estimates of the cost for the likely remedy are developed using third-party environmental engineers or other service providers. Where the Company believes that both the amount of a particular environmental remediation liability and the timing of the payments are reliably determinable, the Company inflates the cost in current dollars until the expected time of payment and discounts the cost to present value.

        In accordance with SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, the Company does not amortize goodwill and annually assess goodwill impairment at the end of the fourth quarter of the Company's fiscal year by applying a fair value test. In the first step of testing for goodwill impairment, the Company estimates the fair value of each reporting unit, which the Company has determined to be our geographic operating segments and FCR, and compare the fair value with the carrying value of the net assets assigned to each reporting unit. The Company tests goodwill at this reporting unit level because the business is managed and reported at this level. If the fair value is less than its carrying value, then the Company would perform a second step and determine the fair value of the goodwill. In this second step, the fair value of goodwill is determined by deducting the fair value of a reporting unit's identifiable assets and liabilities from the fair value of the reporting unit as a whole, as if that reporting unit had just been acquired and the purchase price were being initially allocated. If the fair value of the goodwill is less than its carrying value for a reporting unit, an impairment charge would be recorded to earnings.

        To determine the fair value of each of the Company's reporting units as a whole the Company uses discounted cash flow analyses, which require significant assumptions and estimates about the future operations of each reporting unit. Significant judgments inherent in this analysis include the determination of appropriate discount rates, the amount and timing of expected future cash flows and growth rates. The cash flows employed in the Company's discounted cash flow analyses are based on financial forecasts developed internally by management. The Company's discount rate assumptions are based on an assessment of the Company's risk adjusted discount rate, applicable for each reporting unit. In assessing the reasonableness of the Company's determined fair values of the Company's reporting units, the Company evaluates its results against its current market capitalization.

        In addition, the Company would evaluate a reporting unit for impairment if events or circumstances change between annual tests indicating a possible impairment. Examples of such events or circumstances include the following:

        In connection with its annual fair value test of goodwill, performed at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009, the Company's step one analysis indicated that the fair value of its Eastern region reporting segment was less than its carrying value and proceeded to a step two analysis, which included valuing the tangible and intangible assets and liabilities of the Eastern region reporting

81


Table of Contents


segment to determine the implied fair value of goodwill. The result of this assessment indicated that the implied fair value of goodwill was zero. As a result, the Company recognized a non-cash charge of $55,286, in the quarter ended April 30, 2009, to write-off the entire carrying value of the Eastern region reporting segment goodwill. See Note 7 for further details.

        In accordance with SFAS No. 144, Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets, ("SFAS No. 144") we review our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the remaining estimated useful life of such assets might warrant revision or that the balances may not be recoverable. If undiscounted cash flows are insufficient to recover the net book value of long-term assets including amortizable intangible assets, further analysis is performed in order to determine the amount of the impairment. In such circumstances an impairment loss would be recorded equal to the amount by which the net book value of the assets exceeds fair value. Fair value is usually determined based on the present value of estimated expected future cash flows using a discount rate commensurate with the risks involved.

        Estimates are used in determining the Company's allowance for bad debts and are based on its historical collection experience, current trends, credit policy and a review of its accounts receivable by aging category. The Company's reserve is evaluated and revised on a monthly basis.

        The Company is self insured for vehicles and worker's compensation. The Company's maximum exposure in fiscal 2009 under the worker's compensation plan is $1,000 per individual event, after which reinsurance takes effect. The Company's maximum exposure under the automobile plan is $750 per individual event, after which reinsurance takes effect. The liability for unpaid claims and associated expenses, including incurred but not reported losses, is determined by management with the assistance of a third party actuary and reflected in the Company's consolidated balance sheet as an accrued liability. The Company uses a third party to track and evaluate actual claims experience for consistency with the data used in the annual actuarial valuation. The actuarially determined liability is calculated based on historical data, which considers both the frequency and settlement amount of claims. The Company's self insurance reserves totaled $12,129 and $11,181 at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

        The Company uses estimates to determine its provision for income taxes and related assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against its net deferred tax assets. Valuation allowances have been established for the possibility that tax benefits may not be realized for certain deferred tax assets. The Company records income taxes in accordance with SFAS No. 109, Accounting for Income Taxes ("SFAS No.109"). Under SFAS No. 109, deferred income taxes are recognized based on the expected future tax consequences of differences between the financial statement basis and the tax basis of assets and liabilities, calculated using currently enacted tax rates. The Company records net deferred tax assets to the extent the Company believes these assets will more likely than not be realized. In making this determination, the Company considers all available positive and negative evidence, including scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, projected future taxable income, tax planning strategies and recent financial operations. In the event the Company determines that it would be able to realize its deferred income tax assets in the future in excess of their net recorded amount, it will make an adjustment to the valuation allowance which would reduce the provision for income taxes.

        The Company accounts for income tax uncertainties under FASB Interpretation 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes("FIN No. 48"), which provides guidance on the recognition, de-recognition and measurement of potential tax benefits associates with tax positions. The Company recognizes

82


Table of Contents

interest and penalties relating to income tax matters as a component of income tax expense. For additional information regarding FIN No. 48, see Note 17.

        The Company is subject to various legal proceedings, claims and regulatory matters, the outcomes of which are subject to significant uncertainty. Consistent with SFAS No. 5, the Company determines whether to disclose or accrue for loss contingencies based on an assessment of whether the risk of loss is remote, reasonably possible or probable, and whether it can be reasonably estimated. The Company analyzes its litigation and regulatory matters based on available information to assess the potential liabilities. Management's assessment is developed based on an analysis of possible outcomes under various strategies. The Company accrues for loss contingencies when such amounts are probable and reasonably estimable. If a contingent liability is only reasonably possible, the Company will disclose the potential range of the loss, if estimable. The Company records losses related to contingencies in cost of operations or selling, general and administrative expenses, depending on the nature of the underlying transaction leading to the loss contingency.

        Effective May 1, 2006, the Company adopted the provisions of SFAS No. 123(R), Share-Based Payment, for its share-based compensation plans. The Company previously accounted for these plans under the recognition and measurement principles of APB No. 25 and related interpretations and disclosure requirements established by SFAS No. 123, Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation. The Company adopted SFAS No. 123(R) using the modified prospective method. Under this method, all share-based compensation cost is measured at the grant date, based on the estimated fair value of the award, and is recognized as expense over the employee's requisite service period. Prior periods are not restated.

        Consistent with prior years, the Company uses the Black-Scholes option pricing model which requires extensive use of accounting judgment and financial estimation, including estimates of the expected term option holders will retain their vested stock options before exercising them, the estimated volatility of the Company's common stock price over the expected term, and the number of options that will be forfeited prior to the completion of their vesting requirements.

(c)   Revenue Recognition

        The Company recognizes collection, transfer, recycling and disposal revenues as the services are provided. Certain customers are billed in advance and, accordingly, recognition of the related revenues is deferred until the services are provided.

        Revenues from the sale of electricity to utilities by the Company's waste-to-energy facility are recorded at the contract rate specified by its power purchase agreement as the electricity is delivered. Contractual rental payments associated with power purchase agreements accounted for as embedded operating leases are recognized on a straight line basis over the life of the power purchase agreement.

        Revenues from the sale of recycled materials are recognized upon shipment. Rebates to certain municipalities based on sales of recyclable materials are recorded upon the sale of such recyclables to third parties and are included as a reduction of revenues. Revenues for processing of recyclable materials are recognized when the related service is provided. Revenues from brokerage of recycled materials are recognized at the time of shipment.

(d)   Fair Value of Financial Instruments

        The Company's financial instruments include cash and cash equivalents, trade receivables, investments in closure trust funds, trade payables and derivative instruments. The carrying values of these financial instruments approximate their respective fair values. At April 30, 2009, the fair market

83


Table of Contents


value of the Company's fixed rate debt, was approximately $166,481. At April 30, 2009, the fair market value of the Company's senior secured credit facility which includes the revolving credit facility and term B loan was approximately $310,788. See Note 11 for the terms and carrying values of the Company's various debt instruments.

(e)   Cash and Cash Equivalents

        The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with original maturities of three months or less to be cash equivalents.

(f)    Inventory

        Inventory includes secondary fibers, recyclables ready for sale and supplies and is stated at the lower of cost (first-in, first-out) or market. Inventory consisted of finished goods and supplies of approximately $3,876 and $3,114 at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

(g)   Property, Plant and Equipment

        Property, plant and equipment are recorded at cost, less accumulated depreciation and amortization. The Company provides for depreciation and amortization using the straight-line method by charges to operations in amounts that allocate the cost of the assets over their estimated useful lives as follows (See Note 6):

Asset Classification
  Estimated
Useful Life

Buildings

  25-30 years

Machinery and equipment

  5-10 years

Rolling stock

  5-10 years

Containers

  5-12 years

Furniture and Fixtures

  3-8 years

        Building improvements are amortized over a ten year period or the remaining life of the building, whichever is shorter. Machinery and equipment includes landfill equipment, balers and shredders with useful lives ranging from eight to ten years and maintenance equipment with useful lives ranging from five to ten years. Rolling stock includes collection vehicles, trailers and automobiles with useful lives ranging from five to ten years. Containers include steel containers in a variety of sizes generally ranging from two to forty cubic yards with estimated useful lives of ten to twelve years. Containers also include residential carts and recycling bins with useful lives of five to ten years. The cost of maintenance and repairs is charged to operations as incurred.

(h)   Intangible Assets

        Covenants not to compete and customer lists are amortized using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives, typically no more than 10 years (See Note 7).

        Under SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, goodwill and intangible assets deemed to have indefinite lives are not amortized but are subject to annual impairment tests at each fiscal year end. The Company evaluates goodwill for impairment based on fair value of each operating segment. The Company estimates fair value based on net future cash flows discounted using an estimated risk adjusted discount rate. The Company measures impairment if the net book value of the operating segment exceeds the fair value based upon the discounted future cash flows.

(i)    Investments in Unconsolidated Entities

        The Company entered into an agreement in July 2000 with Louisiana-Pacific ("LP") to combine their respective cellulose insulation businesses into a single operating entity, US GreenFiber LLC

84


Table of Contents


("GreenFiber") under a joint venture agreement effective August 1, 2000. The Company's investment in GreenFiber amounted to $29,571 and $26,723 at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

        On August 15, 2008, the Company made a $2,500 equity contribution to GreenFiber to support a refinancing of GreenFiber's existing revolving credit facility. LP made the same equity contribution resulting in no change to the Company's ownership in GreenFiber. The Company will continue to account for its 50% ownership in GreenFiber using the equity method of accounting.

        In addition, the Company and LP issued a joint and several guarantee of up to $2,000 to support the refinancing of a GreenFiber term loan. The guarantee can be drawn only upon a default (as defined) by GreenFiber under this term loan. As of April 30, 2009, the Company has recorded $75 as the fair value of the guarantee.

        Summarized financial information for GreenFiber is as follows:

 
  April 30,
2008
  April 30,
2009
 

Current assets

  $ 23,095   $ 22,326  

Noncurrent assets

    69,681     63,529  

Current liabilities

    16,229     14,576  

Noncurrent liabilities

  $ 17,365   $ 16,324  

 

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  

Revenue

  $ 186,284   $ 151,635   $ 129,810  

Gross profit

    44,421     24,335     24,619  

Net (loss) income

  $ 4,227   $ (8,103 ) $ (4,315 )

        In January 2006, the Company acquired an interest in the common stock of RecycleBank, LLC ("RecycleBank"), a company that markets an incentive based recycling service, for total consideration of $3,000. During fiscal year 2007, RecycleBank borrowed $2,000 from the Company under a convertible loan agreement. In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the Company converted this note to equity thereby increasing the Company's investment. Additional investments in RecycleBank were made during fiscal year 2007 increasing the Company's total common stock ownership interest to 20.5% at April 30, 2007. In April 2008, RecycleBank completed an equity offering to third party investors that reduced the Company's common share interest to 16.2%. As a result of an internal reorganization by RecycleBank, the Company's investment is now held in RecycleRewards, Inc. ("RecycleRewards") the parent entity of RecycleBank. The Company's investment in RecycleRewards amounted to $4,389 and $4,416 at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively. Effective April 2008, the Company accounts for its investment in RecycleRewards under the cost method of accounting. Prior to April 2008 the Company accounted for this investment under the equity method of accounting. The Company recognized equity losses associated with its investment in RecycleRewards amounting to $1,063 and $2,025 in fiscal years 2007 and 2008, respectively.

85


Table of Contents

        In April 2003, the Company acquired a 9.9% interest in Evergreen National Indemnity Company ("Evergreen"), a surety company which provides surety bonds to the Company, for total consideration of $5,329. In December, 2003, the Company acquired an additional 9.9% interest in Evergreen for total consideration of $5,306. The Company's investment in Evergreen amounted to $10,657 at April 30, 2008 and 2009. The Company accounts for its investment in Evergreen under the cost method of accounting.

(j)    Comprehensive Loss

        Comprehensive loss is defined as the change in net assets of a business enterprise during a period from transactions generated from non-owner sources. It includes all changes in equity during a period except those resulting from investments by owners and distributions to owners. Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) included in the accompanying balance sheets consists of changes in the fair value of the Company's interest rate derivative and commodity hedge agreements, marketable securities as well as the Company's portion of the changes in the fair value of GreenFiber's commodity hedge agreements.

        Other comprehensive income (loss) for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009 are shown as follows:

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2007   2008   2009  
 
  Gross   Tax   Net   Gross   Tax   Net   Gross   Tax   Net  

Changes in fair value of marketable securities during the period

  $ 181   $ 63   $ 118   $ 228   $ 80   $ 148   $ (26 ) $ (10 ) $ (16 )

Reclassification to earnings for marketable securities

                            (208 )   (73 )   (135 )

Change in fair value of interest rate derivatives and commodity hedges during period

    (1,909 )   (778 )   (1,131 )   (5,772 )   (2,325 )   (3,447 )   10,150     4,087     6,063  

Reclassification to earnings for interest rate derivative ineffectiveness

                            963     386     577  

Reclassification to earnings for interest rate derivatives and commodity hedge contracts

    (241 )   (94 )   (147 )   2,896     1,164     1,732     (138 )   (45 )   (93 )
                                       

  $ (1,969 ) $ (809 ) $ (1,160 ) $ (2,648 ) $ (1,081 ) $ (1,567 ) $ 10,741   $ 4,345   $ 6,396  
                                       

        The components of accumulated comprehensive income (loss) for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2008 and 2009 are shown as follows:

 
  April 30, 2008   April 30, 2009  
 
  Gross   Tax   Net   Gross   Tax   Net  

Interest Rate Derivatives

  $ (3,025 ) $ 1,224   $ (1,801 ) $ (28 ) $ 11   $ (17 )

Commodity Hedge Contracts

    (1,530 )   619     (911 )   6,448     (2,597 )   3,851  

Marketable Securities

    222     (78 )   144     (11 )   5     (6 )
                           

Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

  $ (4,333 ) $ 1,765   $ (2,568 ) $ 6,409   $ (2,581 ) $ 3,828  
                           

(k)   Earnings per Share

        Basic earnings per share is computed by dividing net income available to common stockholders by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted earnings per share is based on the combined weighted average number of common shares and potentially dilutive shares, which include, where appropriate, restricted stock, the assumed exercise of employee stock options and the conversion of convertible preferred stock. In computing diluted earnings per share, the

86


Table of Contents


Company utilizes the treasury stock method with regard to employee stock options and the "if converted" method with regard to its convertible preferred stock.

(l)    Accounting for Derivatives and Hedging Activities

        The Company accounts for derivatives and hedging activities in accordance with SFAS No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities. SFAS No. 133 establishes accounting and reporting standards requiring that every derivative instrument (including certain derivative instruments embedded in other contracts) be recorded in the balance sheet as either an asset or liability measured at its fair value. SFAS No. 133 requires that changes in the derivative's fair value be recognized currently in earnings unless specific hedge accounting criteria are met. The Company's objective for utilizing derivative instruments is to reduce its exposure to fluctuations in cash flows due to changes in the variable interest rates under its credit facility and changes in the commodity prices of recycled paper.

        The Company's strategy to hedge against fluctuations in variable interest rates involves entering into interest rate derivative agreements to balance fixed and floating rate debt interest risk in accordance with management's criteria. The Company's outstanding derivative agreements at April 30, 2009 have a total notional value of $165.0 million and require the Company to pay interest based on changes in LIBOR and receive interest at a fixed rate of approximately 4.55%. The Company's derivative agreements mature in May 2009.

        In accordance with SFAS No. 133, for those interest rate derivatives deemed to be effective cash flow hedges, the changes in fair value have been recorded in stockholders' equity as components of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss).

        During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009, the Company chose to renew certain variable rate borrowings against which specific derivative contracts were designated against as cash flow hedges at terms that differed from the underlying derivative contracts. Pursuant to SFAS No. 133, the Company deemed these derivative contracts to be ineffective as cash flow hedges. The ineffective portion of the change in fair value as of April 30, 2009 has been recorded in interest expense in the Company's consolidated statements of operations and amounted to $963.

        The Company's strategy to hedge against fluctuations in the commodity prices of recycled paper is to enter into hedges to mitigate the variability in cash flows generated from the sales of recycled paper at floating prices, resulting in a fixed price being received from these sales. The Company has entered into twenty-five commodity hedges, which expire at various times between June 2009 and December 2011. The Company has evaluated these hedges and believes that these instruments qualify for hedge accounting pursuant to SFAS No. 133, therefore the changes in fair value have been recorded in stockholders' equity as components of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss).

(m)  Concentrations of Credit Risk

        Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of accounts receivable. Concentration of credit risk with respect to accounts receivable is limited because a large number of geographically diverse customers comprise the Company's customer base, thus spreading the trade credit risk. For the years ended April 30, 2008 and 2009, no single group or customer represents greater than 2.85% of total accounts receivable. The Company controls credit risk through credit evaluations, credit limits and monitoring procedures. The Company may also use credit insurance from time to time. The Company performs credit evaluations for commercial and industrial customers and performs ongoing credit evaluations of its customers, but generally does not require collateral to support accounts receivable. Credit risk related to derivative instruments results from the fact the Company enters into interest rate derivative and commodity price hedge agreements

87


Table of Contents


with various counterparties. However, the Company monitors its derivative positions by regularly evaluating positions and the credit worthiness of the counterparties.

3.     NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS

        Effective May 1, 2008, the Company adopted SFAS No. 157, Fair Value Measurements ("SFAS No. 157") as it relates to financial assets and liabilities that are being measured and reported at fair value on a recurring basis. In February 2008, the FASB issued FASB Staff Position No. 157-2, Effective Date of FASB Statement No. 157 ("FSP 157-2"), to allow filers to defer the effective date of SFAS No. 157 for one year for nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities that are recognized or disclosed at fair value in the financial statements on a nonrecurring basis. FSP 157-2 does not defer recognition and disclosure requirements for financial assets and financial liabilities or for nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities that are remeasured at least annually. The Company is currently evaluating the impact this statement will have on its financial position and results of operations.

        In February 2007, the FASB issued SFAS No.159, The Fair Value Option for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities—Including an amendment of FASB Statement No. 155 ("SFAS No. 159"). SFAS No. 159 provides companies with an option to report selected financial assets and liabilities at fair value. A company shall report unrealized gains and losses on items for which the fair value option has been elected in earnings at each subsequent reporting date. Upfront costs and fees related to items for which the fair value option is elected are recognized in earnings as incurred and not deferred. SFAS No. 159 is effective as of the beginning of an entity's first fiscal year that begins after November 15, 2007. The Company adopted this statement on May 1, 2008, but it did not have any impact on the Company's financial position or results of operations as the Company did not make any fair value elections under this standard.

        In December 2007, the FASB issued SFAS No. 141(R), Business Combinations (revised—2007) ("SFAS No. 141(R)"). SFAS No. 141(R) is a revision to previously existing guidance on accounting for business combinations. The statement retains the fundamental concept of the purchase method of accounting, and introduces new requirements for the recognition and measurement of assets acquired, liabilities assumed and noncontrolling interests. SFAS No. 141(R) also requires acquisition-related transaction and restructuring costs to be expensed rather than treated as part of the cost of the acquisition. SFAS No. 141(R) applies prospectively to business combinations for which the acquisition date is on or after the beginning of the first annual reporting period beginning on or after December 15, 2008. The impact of adoption of this statement on the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements is dependent on the nature and volume of future acquisitions, and, therefore, cannot be determined at this time.

        In March 2008, the FSB issued SFAS No. 161, Disclosures about Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities ("SFAS No. 161"). SFAS No. 161 amends and expands the disclosure requirements of SFAS No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities, and requires entities to provide enhanced qualitative disclosures about objectives and strategies for using derivatives, quantitative disclosures about fair values and amounts of gains and losses on derivative contracts, and disclosures about credit-risk-related contingent features in derivative agreements. This statement applies to all entities and all derivative instruments. SFAS No. 161 is effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years and interim periods beginning after November 15, 2008. As SFAS No. 161 relates specifically to disclosures, the adoption will have no impact on the Company's financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

        In April 2008, the FASB issued FSP No. 142-3, Determination of the Useful Life of Intangible Assets ("FSP FAS No. 142-3"). FSP FAS No. 142-3 amends the factors that should be considered in developing renewal or extension assumptions used to determine the useful life of a recognized intangible asset under FASB Statement No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets ("SFAS

88


Table of Contents


No. 142"). FSP FAS No. 142-3 is intended to improve the consistency between the useful life of a recognized intangible asset under SFAS No. 142 and the period of expected cash flows used to measure the fair value of the asset under SFAS No. 141(R) and other U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. FSP FAS No. 142-3 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2008. The Company does not expect the adoption of FSP FAS No. 142-3 to have a material impact on its financial position or results of operations.

4.     BUSINESS COMBINATIONS

        The Company acquired thirteen, five and three solid waste hauling operations in fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively, in transactions accounted for as purchases. Accordingly, the operating results of these businesses are included in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations from the dates of acquisition, and the purchase prices have been allocated to the net assets acquired based on fair values at the dates of acquisition, with the residual amounts allocated to goodwill. In addition to these purchase transactions, in fiscal year 2008, the Company made a final earnout payment of $11,136 to the members of Blue Mountain Recycling, LLC which was acquired in fiscal year 2006. All amounts allocated to goodwill are expected to be deductible for tax purposes. The purchase prices allocated to those net assets acquired were as follows:

 
  April 30,  
 
  2008   2009  

Property, plant and equipment

  $ 19   $ 596  

Goodwill

    11,260     1,508  

Intangible assets

    1,026     281  

Current assets

        81  

Current liabilities

        (72 )

Other non-current liabilities

    (424 )    
           

Total

  $ 11,881   $ 2,394  
           

        The following unaudited pro forma combined information shows the results of the Company's continuing operations for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2008 and 2009 as though each of the acquisitions completed in the fiscal years ended April 30, 2008 and 2009 had occurred as of May 1, 2007.

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2008   2009  

Revenue

  $ 583,737   $ 555,196  

Operating (loss) income

    43,314     (18,229 )

Net loss

    (7,586 )   (67,956 )

Diluted net loss per common share

  $ (0.30 ) $ (2.66 )

Weighted average diluted shares outstanding

    25,382     25,584  

        The pro forma results have been prepared for comparative purposes only and are not necessarily indicative of the actual results of operations had the acquisitions taken place or the results of future operations of the Company. Furthermore, the pro forma results do not give effect to all cost savings or incremental costs that may occur as a result of the integration and consolidation of the completed acquisitions.

89


Table of Contents

5.     RESTRICTED CASH / RESTRICTED ASSETS

        Restricted cash / restricted assets consists of cash and investments held in trust on deposit with various banks as collateral for the Company's financial obligations relative to its self insurance claims liability as well as landfill capping, closure and post-closure costs and other facilities' closure costs. Cash is also restricted by specific agreement for facilities' maintenance and other purposes. A summary of restricted cash / restricted assets is as follows:

 
  April 30,  
 
  2008   2009  

Current:

             

Landfill closure

  $ 75   $ 76  

Insurance

        432  

Other

    20      
           

Total

  $ 95   $ 508  
           

Non Current:

             

Insurance

  $ 13,494   $  

Landfill closure

    69     127  
           

Total

  $ 13,563   $ 127  
           

        Included in non current restricted assets at April 30, 2008 are investments in fixed-maturity securities associated with collateral for the Company's financial obligations relative to its self insurance claims liability. During fiscal year 2009, the underlying trust which held these investments was replaced with an irrevocable letter of credit and the investments were sold. At April 30, 2009, current restricted cash included $432 held in cash and cash equivalents as collateral for the Company's financial obligations relative to its self insurance claims liability. The amortized cost, gross unrealized gains, gross unrealized losses, and estimated fair values of fixed-maturity securities by major security type at April 30, 2008 are as follows:

 
  April 30, 2008  
 
  Amortized
Cost
  Gross
Unrealized
Gains
  Gross
Unrealized
Losses
  Estimated
Fair Value
 

U.S. Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. Government agencies

  $ 6,056   $ 128   $ (10 ) $ 6,174  

Obligations of Government sponsored enterprises

    868     16     (1 )   883  

Corporate debt securities

    5,322     93     (14 )   5,401  

Foreign securities

    203     10         213  
                   

Totals

  $ 12,449   $ 247   $ (25 ) $ 12,671  
                   

        Amortized cost and estimated fair value of fixed-maturity securities at April 30, 2008 by contractual maturity, are as follows:

 
  Amortized
Cost
  Estimated
Fair Value
 

Maturity:

             
 

Due within one year

  $ 2,930   $ 2,956  
 

Due after one year through five years

    9,519     9,715  
           

Totals

  $ 12,449   $ 12,671  
           

90


Table of Contents

        The actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because certain borrowers have the right to call or prepay obligations without penalties.

        The following tables show the estimated fair values and gross unrealized losses aggregated by security types and length of time securities have been in a continuous unrealized loss position, as of April 30, 2008:

 
  April 30, 2008  
 
  Fewer than 12 Months   12 Months or Greater   Total  
 
  Estimated
Fair Value
  Unrealized
Loss
  Estimated
Fair Value
  Unrealized
Loss
  Estimated
Fair Value
  Unrealized
Loss
 

U.S. Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. Government agencies

  $ 1,068   $ (10 ) $   $   $ 1,068   $ (10 )

Obligations of Government sponsored enterprises

    209     (1 )           209     (1 )

Corporate debt securities

    840     (7 )   399     (7 )   1,239     (14 )
                           

Totals

  $ 2,117   $ (18 ) $ 399   $ (7 ) $ 2,516   $ (25 )
                           

6.     PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT

        Property, plant and equipment at April 30, 2008 and 2009 consist of the following:

 
  April 30,  
 
  2008   2009  

Land

  $ 21,770   $ 21,910  

Landfills

    334,115     363,107  

Landfill operating lease contracts

    71,995     77,096  

Buildings and improvements

    113,974     129,115  

Machinery and equipment

    232,068     248,065  

Rolling stock

    138,867     138,464  

Containers

    59,859     62,555  
           

    972,648     1,040,312  

Less: accumulated depreciation and amortization

    484,620     549,952  
           

  $ 488,028   $ 490,360  
           

        Depreciation expense for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009 was $41,453, $42,001 and $42,301, respectively. Landfill amortization expense for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009 was $28,452, $35,120 and $29,725, respectively. Depletion expense on landfill operating lease contracts for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009 was $7,021, $6,010 and $6,416, respectively and was recorded in cost of operations.

91


Table of Contents

7.     INTANGIBLE ASSETS AND GOODWILL

        Intangible assets at April 30, 2008 and 2009 consist of the following:

 
  Covenants
not to
compete
  Client Lists   Licensing
Agreements
  Contract
Acquisition
Costs
  Total  

Balance, April 30, 2008

                               
 

Intangible assets

  $ 15,125   $ 1,597   $ 920   $ 58   $ 17,700  
 

Less accumulated amortization

    (14,189 )   (726 )   (167 )   (10 )   (15,092 )
                       

  $ 936   $ 871   $ 753   $ 48   $ 2,608  
                       

Balance, April 30, 2009

                               
 

Intangible assets

  $ 14,125   $ 1,597   $ 920   $ 424   $ 17,066  
 

Less accumulated amortization

    (13,308 )   (817 )   (235 )   (71 )   (14,431 )
                       

  $ 817   $ 780   $ 685   $ 353   $ 2,635  
                       

        Intangible amortization expense for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009 was $843, $648 and $651, respectively. The intangible amortization expense estimated as of April 30, 2009, for the five fiscal years and thereafter following the fiscal year ended April 30, 2008 is as follows:

2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   Thereafter  
$ 513   $ 402   $ 323   $ 266   $ 218   $ 913  

        The following table shows the activity and balances related to goodwill from April 30, 2007 through April 30, 2009:

 
  April 30, 2007   Acquisitions   Other(1)   Impairment
charge
  April 30, 2008  

Eastern region

  $ 55,373   $   $ (73 ) $   $ 55,300  

Central region

    31,960     9     (9 )       31,960  

Western region

    54,715     115     (26 )       54,804  

FCR Recycling

    26,950     11,136     (434 )       37,652  
                       

Total

  $ 168,998   $ 11,260   $ (542 ) $   $ 179,716  
                       

 

 
  April 30, 2008   Acquisitions   Other(2)   Impairment
charge
  April 30, 2009  

Eastern region

  $ 55,300   $ 19   $ (33 ) $ (55,286 ) $  

Central region

    31,960     1,294     (303 )       32,951  

Western region

    54,804     195     303         55,302  

FCR Recycling

    37,652         (196 )       37,456  
                       

Total

  $ 179,716   $ 1,508   $ (229 ) $ (55,286 ) $ 125,709  
                       

(1)
Consists primarily of a decrease in reserves for uncertain tax positions upon the adoption of FIN No. 48 and a decrease in state tax valuation allowances related to goodwill acquired as part of the KTI acquisition.

(2)
Consists primarily of a decrease in state tax valuation allowances related to goodwill acquired as part of the KTI acquisition as well as the realignment of a division between the Central and Western regions.

92


Table of Contents

        In accordance with SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets ("SFAS No. 142"), the Company performed its annual assessment of goodwill impairment at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009. The first step (defined as "Step 1") of the goodwill impairment test, used to identify potential impairment, compares the fair value of the reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill of the reporting unit is considered not impaired, thus the second step of the impairment test is unnecessary. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the second step of the goodwill impairment test must be performed to measure the amount of impairment loss, if any. The Company engaged an independent valuation specialist to assist in testing.

        In the Step 1 testing for goodwill impairment, the Company estimated the fair value of each reporting unit, which the Company determined to be its four operating regions (Eastern, Western, Central and FCR). Effective February 1, 2009 the Company combined the management of the former South Eastern and North Eastern regions into the Eastern region. In conjunction with this combination, Maine Energy, which was formerly a separate reporting unit, was also combined into the Eastern region reporting unit. The estimated fair value of each reporting unit was compared with the carrying value of the equity assigned to each reporting unit. The sum of the fair values of the reporting units was reconciled to the Company's current market capitalization (based on the Company's stock price) plus an estimated control premium. The discounted cash flow method was used to measure the fair value of the Company's equity under the income approach for each reporting unit. Determining the fair value using a discounted cash flow method requires the Company to make significant estimates and assumptions, including market conditions, discount rates, and long-term projections of cash flows. The Company's estimates are based upon historical experience, current market trends, projected future volumes and other information. The Company believes that the estimates and assumptions underlying the valuation methodology are reasonable, however different estimates and assumptions could result in a different estimate of fair value. In estimating future cash flows, the Company relies on internally generated projections for a defined time period for revenue and operating profits, including capital expenditures, changes in net working capital, and adjustments for non-cash items to arrive at the free cash flow available to invested capital. A terminal value utilizing a constant growth rate of cash flows was used to calculate a terminal value after the explicit projection period. The future projected cash flows for the discrete projection period and the terminal value were discounted at a risk adjusted discount rate to determine the fair value of the reporting unit. The Step 1 test resulted in the determination that the carrying value of equity exceeded the fair value of equity for the Eastern reporting unit, thus requiring the Company to measure the amount of any goodwill impairment by performing the second step of the impairment test. The reasons for this outcome were the continued deterioration of the equity and credit markets and the economy and their related impact on (i) the Company's projected near term cash flows, due to lower projected landfill volumes and commodity pricing and (ii) an increase in the Company's risk adjusted discount rate. Holding all other assumptions constant at the test date, a 1.0% increase in the risk adjusted discount rate, applicable to each reporting unit, would have reduced aggregate cash flows by 11.3%.

        The second step (defined as "Step 2") of the goodwill impairment test, used to measure the amount of impairment loss, compares the implied fair value of reporting unit goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. The guidance in SFAS 142 paragraph 21 was used to estimate the implied fair value of goodwill. If the carrying amount of the Company's goodwill exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss shall be recognized in an amount equal to that excess. The loss recognized cannot exceed the carrying amount of goodwill. After a goodwill impairment loss is recognized, the adjusted carrying amount of goodwill becomes its new accounting basis. The implied fair value of goodwill was determined in the same manner as the amount of goodwill recognized in a business combination is determined. The excess of the fair value of the reporting unit over the amounts assigned to its assets and liabilities is the implied amount of goodwill. The Company estimated the fair value of several tangible and intangible assets during the process that were valued during this process.

93


Table of Contents


Intangible assets included landfill air rights, customer relationships and trade names. For intangible assets, we selected an income approach to value the air rights, customer relationships, and trade names. The landfill air rights and customer relationships were valued using the multi-period excess earnings method under the income approach, which estimates the fair value of the asset by discounting the future projected earnings of the asset to present value as of the valuation date. The trade names were valued using a relief from royalty method. The Step 2 test resulted in the impairment of goodwill in an amount equal to its carrying value of $55,286. As a result the Company recognized a non-cash pre-tax charge of $55,286 for the quarter ended April 30, 2009, to write-off the entire carrying value of the Eastern region goodwill. The Company also performed sensitivity analysis on certain key assumptions in the Step 2 test. Changes in the underlying assumptions were not deemed to have a material impact on the conclusion.

8.     NET ASSETS UNDER CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION

        Effective June 30, 2003, the Company transferred its domestic brokerage operations as well as a commercial recycling business to former employees who had been responsible for managing those businesses. Consideration for the transaction was in the form of two notes receivable amounting up to $6,925. These notes are payable within twelve years of the anniversary date of the transaction to the extent of free cash flow generated from the operations. Interest is payable only in the event of default in which case interest is payable on the unpaid principal balance at an adjustable rate equal to the Company's then current average composite borrowing rate plus 4.0% per annum.

        Effective August 1, 2005, the Company transferred its Canadian recycling operation to a former employee who had been responsible for managing that business. Consideration for this transaction was in the form of a note receivable amounting up to $1,313 which is payable within six years of the anniversary date of the transaction to the extent of free cash flow generated from the operations. Interest is payable only in the event of default in which case interest is payable on the unpaid principal balance at an adjustable rate equal to the Company's then current average composite borrowing rate plus 4.0% per annum.

        The Company has not accounted for these transactions as sales based on an assessment that the risks and other incidents of ownership did not initially and have not yet sufficiently transferred to the buyer. The net assets of these operations are disclosed in the balance sheet as "net assets under contractual obligations" and were reduced as payments are made. During the fiscal years ended April 30, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Company recognized income on the transactions in the amount of $190, $1,605 and $162, respectively, as payments received on the notes receivable exceeded the balance of the net assets under contractual obligation. Net assets under contractual obligation amounted to $0 at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively. Minimum amounts owed to the Company under these notes amounted to $2,076 and $1,884 at April 30, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

94


Table of Contents

9.     ACCRUED CAPPING, CLOSURE AND POST CLOSURE

        Accrued capping, closure and post-closure costs include the current and non-current portion of costs associated with obligations for closure and post-closure of our landfills. The Company estimates its future capping, closure and post-closure costs in order to determine the capping, closure and post-closure expense per ton of waste placed into each landfill as further described in Note 2(l) to these consolidated financial statements. The anticipated timeframe for paying these costs varies based on the remaining useful life of each landfill, as well as the duration of the post-closure monitoring period. The changes to accrued capping, closure and post-closure liabilities are as follows:

 
  Fiscal Year Ended April 30,  
 
  2008   2009  

Beginning balance, May 1

  $ 38,372   $ 42,129  

Obligations incurred(1)

    5,848     4,483  

Revisions in estimates(2)

    1,864     (181 )

Accretion expense

    3,010     3,208  

Payments(3)

    (6,965 )   (7,749 )
           

Balance, April 30

  $ 42,129   $ 41,890  
           

10.   OTHER ACCRUED LIABILITIES

        Other accrued liabilities, classified as current liabilities, at April 30, 2008 and 2009 consist of the following:

 
  April 30,  
 
  2008   2009  

Self insurance reserve—current portion

  $ 10,231   $ 9,593  

Other accrued liabilities

    17,971     12,744  
           

Total other accrued liabilities

  $