Margins matter. The more EPIQ Systems
Here's the current margin snapshot for EPIQ Systems over the trailing 12 months: Gross margin is 54.5%, while operating margin is 8.4% and net margin is 6.7%.
Unfortunately, a look at the most recent numbers doesn't tell us much about where EPIQ Systems has been, or where it's going. A company with rising gross and operating margins often fuels its growth by increasing demand for its products. If it sells more units while keeping costs in check, its profitability increases. Conversely, a company with gross margins that inch downward over time is often losing out to competition, and possibly engaging in a race to the bottom on prices. If it can't make up for this problem by cutting costs -- and most companies can't -- then both the business and its shares face a decidedly bleak outlook.
Of course, over the short term, the kind of economic shocks we recently experienced can drastically affect a company's profitability. That's why I like to look at five fiscal years' worth of margins, along with the results for the trailing 12 months, the last fiscal year, and last fiscal quarter (LFQ). You can't always reach a hard conclusion about your company's health, but you can better understand what to expect, and what to watch.
Here's the margin picture for EPIQ Systems over the past few years.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Dollar amounts in millions. FY = fiscal year. TTM = trailing 12 months.
Because of seasonality in some businesses, the numbers for the last period on the right -- the TTM figures -- aren't always comparable to the FY results preceding them. To compare quarterly margins to their prior-year levels, consult this chart.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Dollar amounts in millions. FQ = fiscal quarter.
Here's how the stats break down:
- Over the past five years, gross margin peaked at 66.9% and averaged 62.5%. Operating margin peaked at 14.3% and averaged 12.2%. Net margin peaked at 7.0% and averaged 6.2%.
- TTM gross margin is 54.5%, 800 basis points worse than the five-year average. TTM operating margin is 8.4%, 380 basis points worse than the five-year average. TTM net margin is 6.7%, 50 basis points better than the five-year average.
With recent TTM operating margins below historical averages, EPIQ Systems has some work to do.
Software and computerized services are being consumed in radically different ways, on new and increasingly mobile devices. Many old leaders will be left behind. Whether or not EPIQ Systems makes the coming cut, you should check out the company that Motley Fool analysts expect to lead the pack in "The Next Trillion-dollar Revolution." Click here for instant access to this free report.
- Add EPIQ Systems to My Watchlist.