Rock-Tenn (NYSE: RKT) reported earnings on Nov. 1. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Sep. 30 (Q4), Rock-Tenn missed estimates on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue contracted and GAAP earnings per share contracted slightly.

Gross margins were steady, operating margins dropped, net margins grew.

Revenue details
Rock-Tenn notched revenue of $2.35 billion. The nine analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see sales of $2.44 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 4.5% lower than the prior-year quarter's $2.46 billion.

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 $1.39. The 13 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $1.37 per share. GAAP EPS of $1.14 for Q4 were 1.7% lower than the prior-year quarter's $1.16 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 17.8%, about the same as the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 7.5%, 120 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 3.5%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.42 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.66.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $9.69 billion. The average EPS estimate is $7.26.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 189 members out of 202 rating the stock outperform, and 13 members rating it underperform. Among 45 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 42 give Rock-Tenn a green thumbs-up, and three give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Rock-Tenn is outperform, with an average price target of $76.00.

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 Rock-Tenn Company. 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.