Earnings Before Interest & Tax - EBIT

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What is 'Earnings Before Interest & Tax - EBIT'

An indicator of a company's profitability, calculated as revenue minus expenses, excluding tax and interest. EBIT is also referred to as "operating earnings", "operating profit" and "profit before interest and taxes (PBIT)." 
 

EBIT =  Revenue - Operating Expenses

or:

EBIT =  Net Income + Interest + Taxes

BREAKING DOWN 'Earnings Before Interest & Tax - EBIT'

EBIT measures the profit a company generates from its operations, making it synonymous with "operating profit." By ignoring tax and interest expenses, it focuses solely on a company's ability to generate earnings from operations, ignoring variables such as the tax burden and capital structure.

This focus makes EBIT an especially useful metric for certain applications. For example, if an investor is thinking of buying a firm out, the existing capital structure is less important than the company's earning potential. Similarly, if an investor is comparing companies in a given industry that operate in different tax environments and have different strategies for financing themselves, tax and interest expenses would distract from the core question: how effectively do these companies generate profits from their operations?

There are different ways to go about calculating EBIT, which is not a GAAP​ metric and therefore not usually included in financial statements. Always begin with total revenue (or equivalently, total sales) and subtract operating expenses, including the cost of goods sold. You may take out one-time or extraordinary items, such as the revenue from the sale of an asset or the cost of a lawsuit, as these do not relate to the business' core operations, but these may also be included. If a company has non-operating income, such as income from investments, this may be—but does not have to be—included; in that case, EBIT is distinct from operating income, which, as the name implies, does not include non-operating income.

Often, interest income is included in EBIT, but it may be excluded depending on its source. If the company extends credit to its customers as an integral part of its business, then this interest income is a component of operating income and is always included. If, on the other hand, the interest income derives from bond investments, or charging fees to customers that pay their bills late, it may be excluded. As with the other adjustments mentioned, this one is up to the investor's discretion, and should be applied consistently to all companies being compared.

In the simplest terms, EBIT is calculated by taking the net income figure from the income statement and adding the income tax expense and interest expense back in. Put a different way, operating expenses are subtracted from total revenue. As an example, we'll use Procter & Gamble Co's (PG) income statement from the year ending June 30, 2015 (all figures in millions of USD):

Net sales 76,279
     Cost of products sold 38,876
Gross profit 37,403
     Selling, general and administrative expense 23,585
     Venezuela charge 2,028
Operating income 11,790
     Interest expense 626
     Interest income 151
     Other non-operating income, net 531
Earnings from continuing operations before income taxes 11,846
     Income taxes on continuing operations 2,916
Net earnings (loss) from discontinued operations (1,786)
Net earnings 7,144
     Less: net earnings attributable to non-controlling interests 108
Net earnings attributable to Procter & Gamble 7,036

To calculate EBIT, we take net sales ($76,279 m) and subtract the cost of products sold ($38,876 m) along with the "selling, general and administrative expense" ($23,585 m) and the "Venezuela charge" ($2,028). We then add non-operating income ($531 m), including interest income ($151 m), to obtain an EBIT of $12,472.

Whether to include the Venezuela charge raises questions. As mentioned above, one-time expenses can arguably be excluded. In this case, a note in the earnings release explains that the company is continuing to operate in the country though subsidiaries. Due to capital controls in effect at the time, however, P&G is taking a one-time hit to remove Venezuelan assets and liabilities from its balance sheet. Similarly, an argument could be made for excluding interest income and other non-operating income from the equation. These considerations are to some extent subjective, but consistent criteria should be applied to all companies being compared.

Another way to calculate P&G's fiscal 2015 EBIT is to work from the bottom up, beginning with the net earnings ($7,144 m). We ignore non-controlling interests, as we're only concerned with the company's operations, and add the net loss from discontinued operations ($1,786 m), for much the same reason. We then add income taxes ($2,916 m) and interest expense ($626 m) back in, to obtain the same EBIT we did via the top-down method: $12,472 m.

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