The Enterprise Value (EV) to its Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation & Amortization (EBITDA) ratio or EV/EBITDA ratio is a common metric utilized as a value tool that relates value of the organization along with debt, cash expenses, and the cash earnings without non-revenue based costs. It would be ideal for investors and analysts to search for firms within a similar industry.

Enterprise Value or EV is a valuable tool as it measures a company’s worth. The ratio is preferred to other measuring tools because it also includes Market Value of Debt and Minority Interest. EBITDA, on the other hand, is a tool used to calculate a company’s operating performance. It’s commonly seen as a means for understanding a company’s operating cash flow.

The EV to EBITDA multiple is assessed by dividing EV by the earnings before interests, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Usually, the values of EV/EBITDA below ten are noted to be healthy. In investment banking, it’s important to compare values between similar companies in order to determine which companies are the healthiest within the sector.

Also known as an enterprise multiple, the EV/EBITDA ratio considers a companies value and displays it in a way that would make sense to a buyer through assessing debt.

Formula

The formula and calculation is determined as EV/EBITDA

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Where EV = Market Capitalization + Total Debt – Cash and Cash Equivalents

What the Enterprise Multiple Informs

Investors can use the EV/EBITDA ratio to assess if they are being valued the right way. Low ratios relative to the historical industry averages mean the company is being undervalued, though high ratios would mean being overvalued.

The enterprise multiple is also good for international comparisons as it is not affected by the individual taxational policies of different countries. It may be used to find takeover candidates, which are attractive because enterprise value includes debt, and it is a better metric than the market cap for mergers and acquisitions.

Benefits of EV/EBITDA

The ratio is similar to the Price-to-Earnings ratio, which takes a closer look at earnings per share, because a low value means an undervaluation for the company. It is advantageous to use the EV/EBITDA ratio alongside the Price-to-Earnings. Investors may look for companies with a low business valuation using the P/E and EV/EBITDA, not to mention potential dividends.  The ratio is also used to compare a company against a competitor of relative values when it comes to different enterprises.

Limitations of EV Multiple

The EV multiple is not usually right for the comparison of firms within different nations because capital structure requirements are not the same. The ratio may work around the taxation policies, but it might not provide reliable conclusions when comparing different industries. The metric is popular for attractive buyouts.

However, there is potential for value traps. These are stocks that have low multiples as they are deserved. It brings the illusion of value investment; however, the company’s fundamentals could be saying there will be negative returns.

It is assumed that the past performance shows the future returns, and when the multiple reduces, investors may capitalize on buying it because they believe it is undervalued. Knowledge concerning the industry and the particular company ratios would help in evaluating the true values.

One great way of doing this would be to consider profitability and determine if the projections are valid. Value traps happen when the profitability estimates seem to be cheap, but the reality is the EBITDA is too high, and the stock has already plummeted.

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Chris Douthit
Chris Douthit

Chris Douthit, MBA, CSPO, is a former professional trader for Goldman Sachs and the founder of OptionStrategiesInsider.com. His work, market predictions, and options strategies approach has been featured on NASDAQ, Seeking Alpha, Marketplace, and Hackernoon.