EBIT Guide

Earnings before interest and taxes

What is EBIT?

EBIT stands for Earnings Before Interest and Taxes and is one of the last subtotals in the income statement before net income.

EBIT is also sometimes referred to as operating income. It is called this because EBIT is found by deducting all operating expenses (production and non-production costs) from sales revenue. Consequently, dividing EBIT by sales revenue results in the operating margin, expressed as a percentage (i.e. 15% operating margin). This margin can be compared to the firm’s past operating margins, the firm’s current net profit margin and gross margin, or the margins of other firms in the same industry.

This margin can be compared to the firm’s past operating margins, the firm’s current net profit margin and gross margin, or the margins of other firms in the same industry.

EBIT

 

EBIT formula

EBIT can be calculated in two ways.  The first is starting with EBITDA and then deducting depreciation and amortization. Alternatively, if a company does not use the EBITDA metric, EBIT can be found by subtracting SG&A (excluding interest but including depreciation) from gross profit.

 

Here are the two EBIT formulas:

EBIT = Net Income + Interest + Taxes

EBIT = EBITDA – Depreciation and Amortization Expense

 

Starting with net income and adding back interest and taxes is the most straightforward, as these items will always be displayed on the income statement. Depreciation and amortization may only be shown on the cash flow statement for some businesses.

 

Proxy for Free Cash Flow

EBIT can be used as a proxy for free cash flow in some industries — stable, mature industries with relatively consistent capital expenditures.  metric is closely tied to free cash flow (FCF).

FCF can be found through the following formula:

FCF = EBIT (1 – T) + D&A + Δ NWC – CapEx

 

Where:

FCF = Free Cash Flow

T = average Tax rate

Δ NWC = Change in Non-Cash Working Capital

CapEx = Capital Expenditures

 

To learn more, see our guides to Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow.

 

EV/EBIT multiple

The EV/EBITDA multiple is often used in comparable company analysis to value a business.  By taking the company’s Enterprise Value (EV) and dividing it by the company’s annual EBIT, we can determine how much investors are willing to pay for each unit of EBIT.

 

An Example:

A company has a market capitalization of $50M, debt of $20M and cash of $10M.  The company also has 2017 net income of $4M, taxes of $1M and interest expense of $1M.  What is it’s 2017 EV/EBIT multiple?

Solution:

EV = $50M + $20M – $10M = $60M

EBIT = $4M + $1M + $1M = $6M

2017 EV/EBIT = 10.0x

 

Why is it used?

Investors use Earnings Before Interest and Taxes for two reasons: #1 it’s easy to calculate, and #2 it makes companies more comparable.

#1 – It’s very easy to calculate on the income statement as net income, interest, and taxes are always broken out.

#2 – It normalizes earnings for the company’s capital structure (by adding back interest expense) and the tax regime that it falls under.  The logic here is that an owner of the business could change its capital structure (hence normalizing for that) and move its head office to a location with a different tax regime.  Whether or not these are realistic assumptions is a separate issue, but in theory, they are both possible.

 

More relevant resources

We hope this has been a helpful guide to Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, including, how to calculate it, what it’s used for, and why it matters to investors.  To continue building you corporate finance knowledge base we highly recommend these related articles and guides: