Ashland (NYSE: ASH) reported earnings on Jan. 24. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q1), Ashland missed slightly on revenues and crushed expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew significantly, and earnings per share contracted significantly.

Gross margins dropped, operating margins expanded, net margins dropped.

Revenue details
Ashland chalked up revenue of $1.9 billion. The four analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected revenue of $2.0 billion. Sales were 35% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.4 billion

My

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $1.20. The nine earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.99 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.77 for Q1 were 29% lower than the prior-year quarter's $1.09 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 27.0%, 90 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 6.7%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 3.2%, 290 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.1 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.36.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $8.6 billion. The average EPS estimate is $5.45.

Investor sentiment

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Ashland is outperform, with an average price target of $68.89.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. 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.