The Eastern Co. :EML-US: Earnings Analysis: Q1, 2017 By the Numbers : June 21, 2017

The Eastern Co. reports financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of The Eastern Co. – Steel Partners Holdings L.P., P&F Industries, Inc. Class A, Mueller Industries, Inc., NL Industries Inc and NN, Inc. (SPLP-US, PFIN-US, MLI-US, NL-US and NNBR-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 36.04 million, Net Earnings of USD 1.52 million.
  • Gross margins widened from 19.40% to 23.00% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now 8.86% from 5.71%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 263.61% is about the same as the 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:

2017-03-31 2016-12-31 2016-09-30 2016-06-30 2016-03-31
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 36.04 34.14 33.48 36.88 33.1
Revenue Growth (%YOY) 8.89 -0.78 -7.62 -0.42 -10.24
Earnings (mil) 1.52 2.65 2.4 2.09 0.65
Earnings Growth (%YOY) 134.1 52.19 -5.05 257.14 -25.85
Net Margin (%) 4.21 7.76 7.17 5.66 1.96
EPS 0.24 0.42 0.38 0.33 0.1
Return on Equity (%) 7.29 12.92 11.89 10.45 3.25
Return on Assets (%) 4.87 8.55 7.79 6.9 2.15

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Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

EML-US‘s change in revenue this period compared to the same period last year of 8.89% 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 EML-US is holding onto its market share. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by 5.56% and earnings by -42.74% 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 growth was influenced by year-on-year improvement in gross margins from 19.40% to 23.00% as well as better cost controls. As a result, operating margins (EBITDA margins) rose from 5.71% to 8.86% compared to the same period last year. For comparison, gross margins were 30.51% and EBITDA margins were 14.13% 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

EML-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 164.66 days from 166.57 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.

EML-US‘s change in operating cash flow of 263.61% 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 growth has also been influenced by the following factors: (1) Improvements in operating (EBIT) margins from 2.90% to 6.20% and (2) one-time items. The company’s pretax margins are now 6.20% compared to 2.86% for the same period last year.

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

The Eastern Co. engages in the manufacture and sale of industrial hardware, security products, and metal products. It operates through the following segments: Industrial Hardware, Security Products and Metal products. The Industrial Hardware segment offers locks, latches, hinges, handles, lightweight honeycomb that are found on automotive industries as well as to the industrial equipment, military and marine sectors. The Security Products segment manufactures electronic and mechanical locking devices, both keyed and keyless, for the computer, electronics, vending and gaming industries. The Metal Products segment includes mine roof support anchors, couplers for railroad braking systems, adjustable clamps for construction and fittings for electrical installations. The company was founded by Eben Tuttle in 1858 and is headquartered in Naugatuck, CT.

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