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A Detailed Introduction to EBITDA

  • Yashoda Gandhi
  • Feb 28, 2022
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In the 1980s, EBITDA was created as a way for investors to determine whether a company would be able to service debt in the coming years. This metric is occasionally applied to a company that is in financial distress and needs to be restructured. EBITDA has since spread and become a widely used metric in a variety of industries and applications.


EBITDA is the most common method for determining how much of a company's cash flow comes from ongoing operations (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). It is a crucial indicator of a company's health. 


Bankers and other financial professionals use EBITDA to determine how much money they are willing to lend a business. They may also use other metrics, but EBITDA is one of the most consistent and reliable.


EBITDA can be a positive or negative number. When a company's EBITDA is positive for a long time, it is considered healthy. Even profitable businesses, on the other hand, can have periods of negative EBITDA.


Also Read | What is Fundamental Analysis?


What is EBITDA?


EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. EBITDA is a financial metric that assesses a company's overall success. Other metrics such as earnings, revenue, and income are frequently substituted for it. 


Before diving into what EBITDA means and how the numbers are used, we'll look at the key terms in the name: Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization.


By removing the impact of non-operating management decisions like tax rates, interest expenses, and significant intangible assets, EBITDA focuses on the financial results of operating decisions.


As a result, the metric provides a figure that accurately reflects a company's operating profitability and can be compared to other companies by owners, investors, and stakeholders.


As a result, EBITDA is frequently preferred over other metrics when determining which business is more appealing. EBITDA can be calculated for a company's accounting period. The following are some of the factors that are included in or related to the acronym EBITDA:


Earnings: Earnings are simply the amount of money your company makes over a given period of time. Simply subtract your operating expense from your total revenue to get this component of EBITDA.


Interest: The cost of debt servicing is known as an interest expense. It can also refer to interest that has been earned, though it usually refers to a cost. Interest costs are not deducted from earnings when calculating EBITDA.


Taxes: Only two things are certain in life: death and taxes, except when it comes to EBITDA, which measures a company's earnings before taxes. EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) is a term for earnings before interest and taxes.


Depreciation and Amortisation: Depreciation is the term used to describe the loss in value of tangible assets such as machinery or vehicles over time. The cost of amortization is associated with the eventual expiration of intangible assets such as patents. Depreciation and amortization are added back to operating profit in EBITDA.


Also Read | 5 Types of Budgets for Businesses


How to calculate EBITDA?


Net income + interest expense + taxes + depreciation + amortization = EBITDA


  1. Obtain the income statement for the company


An income statement is a financial statement that shows a company's revenue and expenses over a specific time period, such as a fiscal quarter or a year. The income statement is broken down into two categories at the very least: "revenues" and "expenses." 


Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories, which are then itemized according to specific earnings or costs. The revenue information needed to calculate EBITDA will be found on the income statement.


  1. Figures to recognize


The income statement contains all of the numbers required to calculate EBITDA. To begin, determine your net income. At the bottom of the income statement, this will be the bottom line. Next, look for interest and taxes. 


These will fall under the expenses category's non-operating subcategory. Finally, determine the numbers for depreciation and amortization. These will be in the expenses category's operating expenses subcategory.


  1. Calculate EBITDA


Take the five figures from step two and multiply them by five. This figure is known as EBITDA.


Also Read | What is Revenue Deficit?


Applications of EBITDA in Business


It's critical to comprehend how EBITDA applies to your company. When you calculate EBITDA, you're looking at your company's net income after factoring in costs like interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.


  1. EBITDA was first used to evaluate a company in the 1980s, during the heyday of leveraged buyouts. In addition, EBITDA is frequently used to compare companies. EBITDA can assist you in calculating a company's cash flow when comparing its profitability to that of another.


  1. When EBITDA is negative, a company's cash flow is poor. On the other hand, a positive EBITDA does not always imply that a company is profitable. When comparing your company to one with an adjusted EBITDA, keep in mind which factors are excluded from the balance sheet.


  1. Make sure you have all of the information before drawing any conclusions about the data. EBITDA isn't necessarily deceptive, nor is it the last word on a company's financial health. EBITDA can give a better picture of a company's long-term potential in some cases.


  1. When communicating with investors, tech start-ups, for example, prefer to use EBITDA because it eliminates the upfront cost of developing sophisticated software. Bankers frequently use EBITDA to calculate your debt service coverage ratio today (DSCR). This is a type of debt-to-income ratio that is used to assess your cash flow and repayment ability for business loans. 


Drawbacks of EBITDA


While many people support EBITDA, others believe that the calculation can be misleading and misrepresent profitability. They, like all business metrics, are only as useful as the conclusions reached by the observer.


EBITDA has been criticised for not allowing for an accurate accounting of working capital (liquidity). For example, a company with many fixed assets that are difficult to convert to cash would have low liquidity (undesirable), but would be profitable and have a healthy EBITDA. 


Once tax and interest are taken into account (and these are expenses that must be taken into account), the company may find itself under pressure and not in such a good position.


By subtracting depreciation and amortisation, you can get a skewed picture of how much cash a company has to meet its interest obligations. By accounting for depreciation, EBITDA can be manipulated to artificially inflate profit. 


Companies with high capital costs, for example, will have a higher EBITDA because the capital outlay's depreciation is added back, making it appear stronger than it is.



What is EBIT?


Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, or EBIT, is one of the final subtotals in the income statement before net income. EBIT is also known as operating income because it is calculated by subtracting all operating expenses (both production and non-production costs) from sales revenue.


The operating margin is calculated by dividing EBIT by sales revenue and expressed as a percentage. The margin can be compared to the company's previous operating margins, current net profit margin, and gross margin, or the margins of other companies in the same industry.


Also Read | Margin Trading


EBIT Formula


EBIT = Net Income + Interest + Taxes


EBIT = EBITDA – Depreciation and Amortization Expense


There are two methods for calculating Earnings Before Interest and Taxes. The first method is, to begin with, EBITDA and subtract depreciation and amortization. If a company does not use the EBITDA metric, operating income can be calculated by subtracting SG&A from gross profit (excluding interest but including depreciation).


The most straightforward method is to start with net income and add back interest and taxes, as these items will always be shown on the income statement. For some businesses, depreciation and amortization are only shown on the cash flow statement.


Also Read | Equity Financing





There are many ways in which EBITDA differs from EBIT.


  1. Your EBITDA analysis will estimate how much cash a company can spend, whereas your EBIT analysis will tell you how well it can perform its tasks.


  1. In the case of companies that have made significant capital investments, EBITDA is especially useful. In these situations, depreciation and amortisation can make a company's operating budget appear far less healthy than it is, even to the point of showing operating losses despite consistent cash flow.


It's worth noting, however, that EBIT and EBITDA are both used to reach conclusions and estimate analyses. Both aren't GAAP-approved metrics, so they're not included in a company's income or cash flow statements.


  1. The main difference between EBIT and EBITDA is that EBITDA includes depreciation and amortization while EBIT does not. 


This means that EBIT is a snapshot of a company's overall cash flow, while EBITDA is a snapshot of a company's estimated income. Each calculation has its own purpose, but both are crucial when analyzing a company's financial performance.


Also Read | What is Mortgage?


In the end, Investors care about EBITDA, but business owners and associates are less concerned. EBITDA is intended to be a predictor of a company's future profitability and how it will perform in the short and long term. EBITDA is a useful metric for comparing companies in the same industry.

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