Adams Resources & Energy, Inc. :AE-US: Earnings Analysis: Q4, 2016 By the Numbers : April 5, 2017

Adams Resources & Energy, Inc. reports financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2016.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 299.03 million, Net Earnings of USD -0.17 million.
  • Gross margins widened from -0.43% to 1.40% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now 1.55% from 0.79%.
  • Change in operating cash flow of 436.69% compared to same period last year is about the same as change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Earnings growth from operating margin improvements as well as one-time items.

The table below shows the preliminary results and recent trends for key metrics such as revenues and net income growth:

2016-12-31 2016-09-30 2016-06-30 2016-03-31 2015-12-31
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 299.03 256.7 292.88 250.37 348.29
Revenue Growth (%YOY) -14.14 -41.67 -51.22 -54.94 -59.01
Earnings (mil) -0.17 -2.15 3.4 1.43 -8.4
Earnings Growth (%YOY) 98 -599.03 -21.57 -53.83 -20.5
Net Margin (%) -0.06 -0.84 1.16 0.57 -2.41
EPS -0.04 -0.51 0.81 0.34 -1.99
Return on Equity (%) -0.44 -5.59 8.83 3.74 -21.39
Return on Assets (%) -0.28 -3.56 5.56 2.38 -12.64

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Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

Compared to the same period last year, AE-US‘s change in revenue was close to the amount of its change in earnings. It remains to be seen how the rest of its peer group’s results will turn out and if AE-US‘s performance is a sign of any major shift in the composition of market share in this sector. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by 16.49% and earnings by 92.20% compared to the previous period.

Earnings Growth Analysis

The company’s earnings growth was influenced by year-on-year improvement in gross margins from -0.43% to 1.40% as well as better cost controls. As a result, operating margins (EBITDA margins) rose from 0.79% to 1.55% compared to the same period last year. For comparison, gross margins were 0.04% and EBITDA margins were 0.98% in the last reporting period.

Gross Margin Trend

Companies sometimes sacrifice improvements in revenues and margins in order to extend friendlier terms to customers and vendors. Capital Cube probes for such activity by comparing the changes in gross margins with any changes in working capital. If the gross margins improved without a worsening of working capital, it is possible that the company’s performance is a result of truly delivering in the marketplace and not simply an accounting prop-up using the balance sheet.

Gross Margin History
Working Capital Days History

AE-US‘s gross margin improvement has not produced any big difference in its working capital. Working capital days are currently 31.96, compared to last year’s level of 25.61 days. This leads Capital Cube to conclude that the improvements in gross margins are likely from operating decisions and not trade-offs with the balance sheet.

Cash Versus Earnings – Sustainable Performance?

It is important to examine a company�s cash versus earnings numbers to gauge whether its performance is sustainable.

AE-US‘s year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 436.69% is around its change in earnings. This suggests that there are likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves for managing earnings this period.


The company’s earnings growth has also been influenced by the following factors: (1) Improvements in operating (EBIT) margins from -1.05% to 0.01% and (2) one-time items. The company’s pretax margins are now 0.02% compared to -3.94% for the same period last year.

EBIT Margin History
PreTax Margin History

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Company Profile

Adams Resources & Energy, Inc. is engaged in the business of crude oil marketing, tank truck transportation of liquid chemicals, and oil and gas exploration and production. It operate through three segment: Marketing, Transportation, and Oil and Gas. The company was founded by Kenneth Stanley Adams, Jr. in 1947 and is headquartered in Houston, TX.

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