Ashland (NYS: ASH) reported earnings on Jan. 29. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q1), Ashland met expectations on revenues and whiffed on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue contracted slightly and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.


Gross margins expanded, operating margins dropped, net margins expanded.

Revenue details
Ashland reported revenue of $1.90 billion. The seven analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ hoped for revenue of $1.90 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 3.2% lower than the prior-year quarter's $1.93 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $1.12. The nine earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $1.37 per share. GAAP EPS of $1.26 for Q1 were 64% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.77 per share. (The prior-year quarter included $0.01 per share in earnings from discontinued operations.)

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 28.7%, 40 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 8.7%, 80 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 5.4%, 220 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.13 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.97.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $8.41 billion. The average EPS estimate is $7.64.

Investor sentiment

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Ashland is outperform, with an average price target of $89.60.

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The article So, the Wheels Came Off Ashland's Bus originally appeared on Fool.com.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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