Shares of Huntsman (NYSE: HUN), the global manufacturer of organic and inorganic chemicals, touched a three-year high recently as the company posted estimate-topping first quarter earnings. Let's analyze the company's numbers to gauge its worth.

Financials speak
Huntsman's revenues jumped 28% to $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2011 from $2.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. Notably, each segment within the company reported a rise in revenues (except the textile segment, which was affected due to higher selling prices).

Higher sales, however, do not give us a true picture about the company's total efficiency. This quarter, Huntsman posted a net profit of $67 million, compared with a net loss of $172 million a year ago.

Income from continuing operations -- which stood at $80 million this quarter -- compared with a loss of $159 million in the prior year quarter. Investors should sit up and take notice.

Lingering concerns
Huntsman's performance has outshined peers such as Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW), which booked declines in its net income this quarter due to rising costs of raw materials. Rising input costs should be a concern for Huntsman as well in the future -- so take note. Another thing that should also concern investors is the debt-to-equity ratio. In spite of showing a declining trend over the quarters, it still stands at a staggering 224.5% as of the first quarter in 2011. Huntsman's competitor Olin (NYSE: OLN), for instance, has a much lower debt-to-equity ratio of 60% in 2010. Huntsman needs to address this soon in order to soothe liquidity concerns.

The Foolish outlook
The company is expanding its operations around the globe with acquisitions of other chemical firms like Laffans Petrochemicals of India. There's no doubt that the company's robust earnings this quarter are attracting investors to the stock, but we need to look forward to the company's future earnings before we think of building positions.

 Anupama Pattanaik does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.