Black Box Corp. :BBOX-US: Earnings Analysis: Q2, 2017 By the Numbers : November 3, 2016

Black Box Corp. reports financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2016.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of Black Box Corp. – General Electric Company, Digi International Inc. and F5 Networks, Inc. (GE-US, DGII-US and FFIV-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 218.70 million, Net Earnings of USD -6.10 million.
  • Gross margins narrowed from 29.05% to 23.82% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now -0.59% from 5.14%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 175.06% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Earnings growth due to contribution of one-time items.

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

2015-09-30 2015-12-31 2016-03-31 2016-06-30 2016-09-30
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 236.84 222.48 224.1 218.48 218.7
Revenue Growth (%YOY) -4.84 -12.16 -8.57 -4.68 -7.66
Earnings (mil) -129.85 5.74 -47.7 -0.48 -6.1
Earnings Growth (%YOY) -4153.86 8.78 -1744.83 -163.13 95.3
Net Margin (%) -54.82 2.58 -21.29 -0.22 -2.79
EPS -8.45 0.37 -3.14 -0.03 -0.4
Return on Equity (%) -190.43 11.05 -104.48 -1.23 -16.23
Return on Assets (%) -85.09 4.28 -38 -0.41 -5.31

Access our Ratings and Scores for Black Box Corp.

Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

BBOX-US‘s change in revenue this period compared to the same period last year of -7.66% is almost the same as its change in earnings, and is about average among the announced results thus far in its peer group, suggesting that BBOX-US is holding onto its market share. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by 0.10% and earnings by -1,181.51% compared to the immediate last period.

Revenues Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Leader, Earnings Focus, Laggard, Revenues Focus

Earnings Growth Analysis

The company’s earnings rose year-on-year. But this growth has not come as a result of improvement in gross margins or any cost control activities in its operations. Gross margins went from 23.82% to 29.05% for the same period last year, while operating margins (EBITDA margins) went from -0.59% to 5.14% over the same time frame.

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

BBOX-US‘s decline in gross margins were offset by some improvements on the balance sheet. The management of working capital, for example, shows progress. The company’s working capital days have fallen to 48.22 days from 66.91 days for the same period last year. This leads Capital Cube to conclude that the gross margin decline is not altogether bad.

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?

BBOX-US‘s change in operating cash flow of 175.06% 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 operating (EBIT) margins contracted from 3.16% to -2.74%. In spite of this, the company’s earnings rose. This was influenced primarily by one-time items, which improved pretax margins from -63.91% to -3.48%.

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

Access our Ratings and Scores for Black Box Corp.

Company Profile

Black Box Corp. engages in the provision of technology solutions. It supports its customers to design, build, manage, and secure their information technology (IT)infrastructure. The firm offers its products under Products and Services Platforms. The Products platform includes IT infrastructure, specialty networking, multimedia and keyboard/video/mouse switching. The Services platform includes unified communications, data infrastructure and managed services. It operates its business through the following segments: North America Products, North America Services, International Products, and International Services. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Lawrence, PA.

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