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Finance Dictionary and Glossary of Investment Terms
Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. An approximate measure of a company's operating cash flow based on data from the company's income statement. Calculated by looking at earnings before the deduction of interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This earnings measure is of particular interest in cases where companies have large amounts of fixed assets which are subject to heavy depreciation charges (such as manufacturing companies) or in the case where a company has a large amount of acquired intangible assets on its books and is thus subject to large amortization charges (such as a company that has purchased a brand or a company that has recently made a large acquisition). Since the distortionary accounting and financing effects on company earnings do not factor into EBITDA, it is a good way of comparing companies within and across industries. This measure is also of interest to a company's creditors, since EBITDA is essentially the income that a company has free for interest payments. In general, EBITDA is a useful measure only for large companies with significant assets, and/or for companies with a significant amount of debt financing. It is rarely a useful measure for evaluating a small company with no significant loans. Sometimes also called operational cash flow.
See: Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization