Star Gas Partners LP :SGU-US: Earnings Analysis: Q3, 2017 By the Numbers : October 10, 2017

Star Gas Partners LP reports financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of Star Gas Partners LP – Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (FGP-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 225.80 million, Net Earnings of USD -13.25 million.
  • Gross margins narrowed from 28.94% to 25.24% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now -4.18% from -0.00%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 64.36% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Narrowing of operating margins contributed to decline in earnings.

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

2017-06-30 2017-03-31 2016-12-31 2016-09-30 2016-06-30
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 225.8 532.05 384.12 162.06 218.19
Revenue Growth (%YOY) 3.49 15.16 20.39 -3.05 -11.16
Earnings (mil) -13.25 32.86 15.72 -18.99 -3.22
Earnings Growth (%YOY) -311.71 -27.42 46.15 46.16 61.27
Net Margin (%) -5.87 6.18 4.09 -11.71 -1.48
EPS -0.24 0.59 0.28 -0.34 -0.06
Return on Equity (%) -3.91 9.92 5.11 -5.94 -0.94
Return on Assets (%) -7.56 18.47 9 -10.44 -1.65

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Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

SGU-US’s change in revenue this period compared to the same period last year of 3.49% 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 SGU-US is holding onto its market share. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by -57.56% and earnings by -140.33% 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 year-on-year decline in earnings was influenced by a weakening in gross margins from 28.94% to 25.24%, as well as issues with cost controls. As a result, operating margins (EBITDA margins) went from -0.00% to -4.18% in this time frame. For comparison, gross margins were 33.29% and EBITDA margins were 16.12% in the previous 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

SGU-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 are now 11.80 days from 36.50 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.

SGU-US’s change in operating cash flow of 64.36% 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 decline in earnings has been influenced by the following factors: (1) Decline in operating margins (EBIT margins) from -3.11% to -7.47% and (2) one-time items that contributed to a decrease in pretax margins from -2.29% to -9.64%

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

Star Gas Partners LP operates as a home heating oil and propane distributor and services provider to residential and commercial customers. It also engages in the provision of heating and air conditioning equipment, as well as diesel, fuel, and gasoline products. The company was founded on October 16, 1995 and is headquartered in Stamford, CT.

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