Covanta Holding (NYSE: CVA) reported earnings on Feb. 6. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Covanta Holding beat expectations on revenues and missed estimates on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue didn't move and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Gross margins contracted, operating margins grew, net margins grew.

Revenue details
Covanta Holding reported revenue of $430.0 million. The 10 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see revenue of $410.5 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

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 $0.20. The 11 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.23 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.62 for Q4 were 226% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.19 per share. (The prior-year quarter included -$0.01 per share in earnings from discontinued operations.)

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 47.0%, 210 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 27.2%, 950 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 19.1%, 1,310 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $394.5 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is -$0.08.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $1.67 billion. The average EPS estimate is $0.63.

Investor sentiment

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Covanta Holding is outperform, with an average price target of $21.27.

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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 has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.