Avalon Holdings Corp. :AWX-US: Earnings Analysis: 2016 By the Numbers : March 20, 2017

Avalon Holdings Corp. reports financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of Avalon Holdings Corp. – US Ecology, Inc., Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services, Inc. and Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. (ECOL-US, WM-US, RSG-US and HCCI-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Gross margins widened from 11.93% to 13.07% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now 4.29% from 2.37%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 36.81% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Earnings decline largely a result of non-operational activity, pretax margins improved from -2.19% to -0.46%.

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

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Relevant Numbers (Annual)
Revenues 61.35 53.09 51.47 59.47 48.89
Revenue Growth (YOY) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Earnings -0.07 -0.71 -1.08 0.44 -0.33
Earnings Growth (YOY) 90.31 34.07 -346.58 234.36 -142.01
Net Margin -0.11 -1.34 -2.1 0.74 -0.67
EPS -0.02 -0.19 -0.28 0.11 -0.09
Return on Equity -0.17 -1.68 -2.5 1.05 -0.82
Return on Assets -0.1 -1.16 -1.9 0.83 -0.62

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Earnings Growth Analysis

The company’s earnings growth was influenced by year-on-year improvement in gross margins from 11.93% to 13.07% as well as better cost controls. As a result, operating margins (EBITDA margins) rose from 2.37% to 4.29% compared to the same period last year. For comparison, gross margins were 11.93% and EBITDA margins were 2.37% in the last reporting period.

Gross Margin Versus EBITDA Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Differentiated; Low Cost, Commodity; Low Cost, Commodity; High Cost, Differentiated; High Cost

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

AWX-US‘s improvement in gross margin has been accompanied by an improvement in its balance sheet as well. This suggests that gross margin improvements are likely from operating decisions and not accounting gimmicks. Its working capital days have declined to 2.63 days from 15.96 days for the same period last year.

Gross Margin Versus Working Capital Days

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Customer Financed, Cash Starved, Supplier Financed, Cash Rich

Cash Versus Earnings – Sustainable Performance?

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

AWX-US‘s change in operating cash flow of 36.81% compared to the same period last year is about the same as its change in earnings this period. Additionally, this change in operating cash flow is about average among its peer group. This suggests that the company did not use accruals or reserves to manage earnings this period, and that, all else being equal, the earnings number is sustainable.

Operating Cash Flow Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Cash Flow based Earnings, Likely Non-cash Earnings, Low Cash Flow Base, Likely Undeclared Earnings


The company’s earnings decline is largely a result of non-operational activity. As a matter of fact, the company showed increases in operating (EBIT) and pretax margins. EBIT margins improved from -2.45% to -0.30% and pretax margins widened from -2.19% to -0.46%.

EBIT Margin Versus PreTax Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Operation driven Earnings, One-time Favorables, Low Earnings Base, One-time Unfavorables
EBIT Margin History
PreTax Margin History

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Company Profile

Avalon Holdings Corp. engages in the provision of waste management services to industrial, commercial, municipal, and governmental customers. It operates through the Waste Management Services and Golf and Related Operations segments. The Waste Management Services segment includes waste disposal brokerage and management services, captive landfill management operations, and salt water injection well operations. The Golf and Related Operations segment focuses on the operation and management of three golf courses and related clubhouses, a hotel, fitness centers, tennis courts, spa services, dining, banquet and conference facilities, and a travel agency. The company was founded on April 30, 1998 and is headquartered in Warren, OH.

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