OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) released its earnings numbers for the third quarter of 2013 this afternoon after the bell rang on Wall Street. The company showed earnings per share of 15 cents per share for the three month period on revenue totaling $1.67 billion. On today’s market stock in OfficeMax trended down to finish the day at $15.26 per share.

OfficeMax

In the run-up to the release of these numbers, analysts following OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) were looking for earnings per share of 22 cents. The 12 analysts, who were surveyed by Bloomberg, were looking for revenue of $1.68 billion by consensus. In the same three months of 2012 the company managed to earn 64 cents per share on revenue of $419 million.

OfficeMax earnings

OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) earnings have been stable for the last few years. The company showed earnings per share of $2.50 for the full year 2012, and $2.53 for the full year 2011. Today’s results show yet another year of very little growth in earnings at the company.

Growth is expected to return to OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) once the company completes its merger with Office Depot. The two firms are coming together in order to better compete in the industry and increase shareholder value.

Office Max performance

2013 has been a good year for investors in OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX). The company’s stock has grown by more than 55% since the start of the year, though most of that increase has come on the back of a merger with competitor Office Depot. The merger has been approved by regulators in the United States, and the deal is expected to be closed in the coming months.

That means that earnings are not a big mover for OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) shares right now. The company’s business, and the entire industry, is going to change drastically when the two companies become one, and that means that there is little short term force that can move the valuation.

Shares in OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) are trading at an extremely low multiple of just three times 2012 earnings on today’s market. The merger is expected to add a huge amount of value to the new company, and give it more negotiating power and economies of scale. The industry is a risky one, however. Even if the dominance of Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) is challenged, the industry may not be a particularly profitable one.