Zynga, Inc. :ZNGA-US: Earnings Analysis: 2016 By the Numbers : February 14, 2017

Zynga, Inc. reports financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of Zynga, Inc. – Glu Mobile Inc., Activision Blizzard, Inc., Electronic Arts Inc., Alphabet Inc. Class A, Facebook, Inc. Class A and Apple Inc. (GLUU-US, ATVI-US, EA-US, GOOGL-US, FB-US and AAPL-US) that have also reported for this period.

Highlights

  • Gross margins narrowed from 69.28% to 67.83% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now -6.99% from -6.31%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 235.03% 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:

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Relevant Numbers (Annual)
Revenues 741.42 764.72 690.41 873.27 1281.27
Revenue Growth (YOY) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Earnings -108.17 -121.51 -225.9 -36.98 -209.45
Earnings Growth (YOY) 10.98 46.21 -510.84 82.34 48.2
Net Margin -14.59 -15.89 -32.72 -4.23 -16.35
EPS -0.12 -0.13 -0.26 -0.05 -0.28
Return on Equity -6.42 -6.6 -11.97 -2 -11.72
Return on Assets -5.37 -5.43 -9.76 -1.52 -8.22

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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 67.83% to 69.28% for the same period last year, while operating margins (EBITDA margins) went from -6.99% to -6.31% 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

ZNGA-US‘s decline in gross margins has not produced any significant offsetting improvement in its working capital . This leads Capital Cube to conclude that the decline in gross margins are likely from operating issues and not trade-offs with the balance sheet. Working capital days are currently 393.33 days, compared to last year’s level of 379.45 days.

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.

ZNGA-US‘s change in operating cash flow of 235.03% 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

Margins

The company’s earnings growth has also been influenced by the following factors: (1) Improvements in operating (EBIT) margins from -13.41% to -12.62% and (2) one-time items. The company’s pretax margins are now -14.13% compared to -17.02% 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

Zynga, Inc. engages in the development and provision of online social games. Its products are played over the Internet, mobile applications, and social networking sites. It offers Chess with Friends, Crazy Cake Swap, Draw Something, FarmVille, Gems With Friends, Ice Age: Arctic Blast, Looney Tunes Dash, Speed Guess Something, What’s The Phrase, Wizard of Oz Magic Match, Yummy Gummy, Free Slots, Black Diamond Casino, Hit It Rich!, Zynga Poker, and Willy Wonka Slots. The company was founded by Mark Jonathan Pincus on April 19, 2007 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

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