Zep (NYSE: ZEP) met its estimates last quarter, but investors hope that it will beat them this quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, July 7. Zep produces, markets, and services a range of cleaning and maintenance solutions for commercial, industrial, institutional, and consumer end-markets. Its product portfolio includes anti-bacterial and industrial hand care products, cleaners, etc.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts strongly back Zep, with three of five rating it a buy and the remainder rating it a hold. Analysts like Zep better than competitor Clorox Company overall. Zep's rating hasn't changed over the past three months.
  • Revenue Forecasts: On average, analysts predict $164.3 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 7.3% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of 32 cents per share. Estimates range from $0.30 to $0.34.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock with 92.9% assigning it an "outperform" rating. The community at large concurs with the All-Stars with 88.9% granting it a rating of "outperform." Fools are keen on Zep, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 21 posts in the past 30 days. Though still bullish, the CAPS rating of four out of five stars for Zep is a bit more pessimistic than the community assessment.

Zep's profit has risen year over year by an average of 28.1%.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows gross, operating, and net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3
Gross Margin 46.7% 49.6% 48.2% 49.4%
Operating Margin 3.2% 6.1% 2.7% 6%
Net Margin 1.5% 3.1% 1.3% 3.4%

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