November 22, 2020

EBIT and EBITDA explained simply

What do EBIT and EBITDA mean? How to calculate EBIT and EBITDA? Why are the financial metrics EBIT and EBITDA important to measure the financial success of a company? Why do some companies use EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) and others EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization)? What is the purpose of the financial statements of a company: income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement? What are EBIT and EBITDA used for in business?

Both EBIT and EBITDA are measures of profitability, along with terms like gross profit and net income. They are reported in the income statement (or “Profit & Loss statement”, “P&L”), an overview of the profit or income that you generate during a period.

To calculate EBIT and EBITDA, many companies would present their income statement in the following way:
Revenue minus Cost Of Sales equals Gross Profit.
Gross Profit minus S,G&A and R&D equals EBITDA.
EBITDA minus Depreciation & Amortization equals EBIT.
EBIT minus Interest and Taxes equals Net Income.
Please be aware that different companies use different terminology, so what you see here might be different from what your company is using.

EBIT is Earnings Before Interest and Taxes. Interest is excluded, as it depends on your financing structure. How much did you borrow, and at what interest rate? Taxes are excluded, because it depends on the geographies that you work in.

EBITDA is Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. Just like EBIT, it excludes Interest and Taxes. Furthermore, depreciation and amortization are excluded, because they depend on the historical investment decisions that a company has made, not the current operating performance.

EBITDA is a meaningful metric for capital-intensive industries.

In the video, we look at an example of using EBIT and EBITDA in financial reporting, by reviewing the 2015 annual report of the Maersk Group (CPH: MAERSK-B), a company headquartered in Denmark and operating globally.

What do business and finance people use EBITDA for? Besides being a metric to represent ongoing operating performance, it is often mentioned as part of M&A (or Mergers & Acquisitions) news. A quick-and-dirty way to calculate the value of a company is by using a multiple of EBITDA. This can help you to get to a ballpark number, but I would advise to always do a more thorough analysis and a more thorough valuation of a company, as there are a lot of “ifs” connected to using an EBITDA multiple… you are assuming the profitability and the industry does not change, you exclude the impact of working capital (which could go up dramatically for a fast-growing company), and you exclude the cash that you need for capital expenditures on an ongoing basis for the company.

Related videos in the Finance Storyteller series:
EBITDA example

Philip de Vroe (The Finance Storyteller) aims to make strategy, finance and leadership enjoyable and easier to understand. Learn the business vocabulary to join the conversation with your CEO at your company. Understand how financial statements work in order to make better stock market investment decisions. Philip delivers training in various formats: YouTube videos, classroom sessions, webinars, and business simulations. Connect with me through Linked In!


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