Pro-Forma Earnings

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DEFINITION of 'Pro-Forma Earnings'

Projected earnings based on a set of assumptions and often used to present a business plan (in Latin pro forma means "for the sake of form"). It also refers to earnings which exclude non-recurring items. Pro-forma earnings are not derived by standard GAAP methods.

BREAKING DOWN 'Pro-Forma Earnings'

Items sometimes excluded in pro-forma earnings figures include write-downs, goodwill amortization, depreciation, restructuring and merger costs, interest, taxes, stock based employee pay and other expenses. The company excludes these items with the intent to present its figures more clearly to investors. However, whether or not this is accomplished is debatable. This has spawned such nicknames for pro-forma earnings as EEBS (earnings excluding bad stuff).

Investors should exercise caution when using pro-forma earnings figures in their fundamental analysis. Unlike GAAP earnings, pro-forma earnings do not comply with any standardized rules or regulations. As a result, positive pro-forma earnings can become negative once GAAP requirements are applied and certain items are included in the calculations!

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