Qualstar Corp. :QBAK-US: Earnings Analysis: Q4, 2016 By the Numbers : March 20, 2017

Qualstar Corp. reports financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2016.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of Qualstar Corp. – International Business Machines Corporation, CUI Global, Inc., Vicor Corporation and Quantum Corporation (IBM-US, CUI-US, VICR-US and QTM-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 2.23 million, Net Earnings of USD -0.41 million.
  • Gross margins narrowed from 21.50% to 12.06% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now -16.81% from -12.69%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of -51.23% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Earnings rose compared to same period last year, despite decline in operating and pretax margins.

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 2015-03-31
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 2.23 2.67 2.37 2.15 2.81
Revenue Growth (%YOY) -20.46 -24.43 -28.61 -21.79 9.48
Earnings (mil) -0.41 -0.05 -0.34 -0.41 -0.49
Earnings Growth (%YOY) 16.43 78.37 -4.35 38.85 77.55
Net Margin (%) -18.24 -1.99 -14.18 -19.26 -17.36
EPS -0.2 -0.03 -0.16 -0.18 -0.24
Return on Equity (%) -32.29 -4.02 -24.59 -24.04 -23.25
Return on Assets (%) -22.02 -2.8 -17.25 -17.39 -16.92

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Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

QBAK-US‘s change in revenue this period compared to the same period last year of -20.46% 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 QBAK-US is holding onto its market share. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by -16.32% and earnings by -667.92% 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 12.06% to 21.50% for the same period last year, while operating margins (EBITDA margins) went from -16.81% to -12.69% 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

QBAK-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 197.56 days from 257.54 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?

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

QBAK-US‘s change in operating cash flow of -51.23% 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


Despite a decline in operating (EBIT) margins as well as a decline in pretax margins, the company’s earnings rose.

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 Qualstar Corp.

Company Profile

Qualstar Corp. engages in the manufacture and trade of storage and power supply solutions. It operates through the Power Supplies and Data Storage segments. The Power Supplies segment designs, produces, and distributes power supplies used to convert alternating current line voltage to direct current voltages of electronic equipment. The Data Storage segment manufactures and sells automated magnetic tape libraries for electronic data storage, retrieval, and management. The company was founded by William J. Gervais and Richard A. Nelson in 1984 and is headquartered in Westlake Village, CA.

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