Darling International (NYSE: DAR) reported earnings on Feb. 29. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Darling International beat slightly on revenue and whiffed on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue expanded significantly and GAAP earnings per share increased significantly.

Gross margin dropped, operating margin shrank, and net margin grew.

Revenue details
Darling International logged revenue of $430.9 million. The eight analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see sales of $425.5 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 90% higher than the prior-year quarter's $227.2 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.25. The eight earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.33 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.25 for Q4 were 108% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.12 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 27.1%, 170 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 13.8%, 180 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 6.8%, 240 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $409.5 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.35.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $1.70 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.42.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,076 members out of 1,102 rating the stock outperform, and 26 members rating it underperform. Among 290 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 286 give Darling International a green thumbs-up, and four give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Darling International is outperform, with an average price target of $18.43.

Over the decades, small-cap stocks like Darling International have provided market-beating returns, provided they're value-priced and have solid businesses. Read about a pair of companies with a lock on their markets in "Too Small to Fail: Two Small Caps the Government Won't Let Go Broke." Click here for instant access to this free report.

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. The Motley Fool owns shares of Darling International. 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.