Free Cash Flow from EBITDA

What is Free Cash Flow from EBITDA?

To calculate free cash flow from EBITDA, we need to understand what EBITDA is. It is the earnings of a firm before paying interest, taxes, and depreciation and amortization expenses. Thus,

EBITDA = Earnings + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation & Amortization

Note that the earnings used for this calculation are also known as net profit after taxProfit After TaxProfit After Tax is the revenue left after deducting the business expenses and tax liabilities. This profit is reflected in the Profit & Loss statement of the business.read more or the bottom line of the income statement. Let us now look at how Free Cash Flow to EquityFree Cash Flow To EquityFCFE (Free Cash Flow to Equity) determines the remaining cash with the company's investors or equity shareholders after extending funds for debt repayment, interest payment and reinvestment. It is an indicator of the company's equity capital managementread more and Free Cash Flow to Firm can be calculated from EBITDA.

Calculation of Free Cash Flows from EBITDA

When we have EBITDA, we can arrive at the free cash flows to equity by performing the following steps:

free cash flow to equity formula

To arrive at free cash flow to the firm from EBITDA, we can perform the following steps:

free cash flow to firm formula
Note: Free cash flows to the firm represent the claim of debtors and shareholders after all expenses and taxes have been paid. On the other hand, free cash flows to equity assume that debtors have already been paid off.

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For eg:
Source: Free Cash Flow from EBITDA (wallstreetmojo.com)

The first three quantities make EBITDA change into Earnings before taxes. We add the depreciation & amortization expense to the earnings because it is a non-cash expenseNon-cash ExpenseNon-cash expenses are those expenses recorded in the firm's income statement for the period under consideration; such costs are not paid or dealt with in cash by the firm. It involves expenses such as depreciation.read more. The working capital that is initially fed to operations is eventually gained back, causing it to be added to the free cash flows.

Locating these items on the company’s financial statements is simple. On the income statement, you get interest expense and taxes. The capital expenditureCapital ExpenditureCapex or Capital Expenditure is the expense of the company's total purchases of assets during a given period determined by adding the net increase in factory, property, equipment, and depreciation expense during a fiscal year.read more can be traced from the cash flow statementCash Flow StatementStatement of Cash flow is a statement in financial accounting which reports the details about the cash generated and the cash outflow of the company during a particular accounting period under consideration from the different activities i.e., operating activities, investing activities and financing activities.read more, and so can the depreciation and amortization expense. Whereas, the changes in working capital can either be obtained from the supporting schedule of working capital or from the cash flow statement. The net borrowings, being a function of issued debt and repaid debt, can be deduced from the cash flow statement.

Examples of Free Cash Flow from EBITDA (with Excel Template)

Given below are some examples of free cash flowExamples Of Free Cash FlowThe cash flow to the firm or equity after paying off all debts and commitments is referred to as free cash flow (FCF). It measures how much cash a firm makes after deducting its needed working capital and capital expenditures (CAPEX).read more from EBITDA.

You can download this Free Cash Flow from EBITDA Excel Template here – Free Cash Flow from EBITDA Excel Template

Example #1  

Consider a tea company with $400,000 in depreciation and amortization and EBITDA of $20 million. It has $3 million in net debts and pays $200,000 as interest expense. The capital expenditure for the year is$80,000. Also, consider $400,000 to be the change in its net working capitalChange In Its Net Working CapitalThe change in net working capital of a firm from one accounting period to the next is referred to as the change in net working capital. It is calculated to ensure that the firm maintains sufficient working capital in each accounting period so that there is no shortage of funds or that funds do not sit idle in the future.read more. What are its free cash flows to equity if a tax rate of 25% is applicable?

Solution:

We should always list out the item that is required to be calculated in terms of given variables. Hence,

  • EBITDA: $20,000,000
  • D&A: $400,000
  • Interest: $200,000
  • Tax Rate: 25%
  • Changes in working capital: $400,000
  • Capital expenditure: $80,000
  • Net borrowings: $3,000,000

Free cash flows to equity = (EBITDA – D&A – Interest) – Taxes + D&A + Changes in working capital – Capex – Net debtsNet DebtsDebt minus cash and cash equivalents equals net debt, which is the amount of debt a company has in comparison to its liquid assets. It is a metric that is used to evaluate a firm's financial liquidity and aids in determining if the company can meet its obligations by comparing liquid assets to total debt.read more

free cash flow from EBITDA example 1.1

When we substitute values, we get FCFE = $12.27 million

And,

Free cash flows to firm = (EBITDA – Interest) *(1 – Tax rate) + Interest*(1 – Tax rate) – Capex + Changes in WC.

free cash flow from EBITDA example 1.3
  • FCFF = $15.32 million.

Notice that the free cash flows available to the common stockholdersThe Common StockholdersA stockholder is a person, company, or institution who owns one or more shares of a company. They are the company's owners, but their liability is limited to the value of their shares.read more are less than those available before paying the debtors.

Example 2      

Jim, an analyst in a sports apparel producing company, wants to calculate free cash flows to equity from the company’s financial statements, an excerpt of which is provided here. Also, comment on the performance of the company visible from the required calculations.

  • EBITDA: $120,000,000
  • D&A: $1,100,000
  • Interest: $800,000
  • Taxes: $34,500,000
  • Changes in working capital: $65,000
  • Net borrowings: $10,000,000
  • Capital expenditure: $15,500,000

Solution:

In calculating free cash flows to a firm, we must start from EBITDA and subtract depreciation & amortization expense and interest to arrive at earnings before-taxes, which takes the following mathematical form.

EBITDA – depreciation & amortization – Interest expense

Further, we account for the taxes and arrive at after-tax earnings; represented by

Earnings before-taxes – taxes = After-tax earnings

In the final step, we subtract capital expenditure. Add the interest tax shieldTax ShieldTax shield is the reduction in the taxable income by way of claiming the deduction allowed for the certain expense such as depreciation on the assets, interest on the debts etc. It is calculated by multiplying the deductible expense for the current year with the rate of taxation as applicable to the concerned person.read more. We also add back depreciation & amortization, which is the non-cash part of financials, and changes in working capital.

Free cash flows to equity (FCFE) from the EBITDA will be –

free cash flow from EBITDA example 2.2

Free cash flows to the firm (FCFF) from the EBITDA will be –

example 2.3

Some points to consider:

  1. In the calculation of free cash flows to equity from the EBITDA as the starting point is that we can ignore depreciation and amortization expense in our equation as it occurs twice canceling its effect whatsoever.
  2. In these calculations leading up to free cash flows, we come across an important parameter of the financial health of the company, the after-tax earnings.
  3. Expenses such as capital expenditure are to be carefully considered when using free cash flows. They are subtracted from EBITDA, precisely after-tax earnings if the expenditure has increased from the previous year.
  4. Net borrowings are the net effect of debt issued and debt repaid by a company. This must be used with proper conventions.
  5. Free cash flows to firms enjoy the benefits of tax shields on interest, whereas free cash flows to equity do not.

Example 3

Can you calculate the free cash flows to firm and equity from the information provided below?

  • EBITDA: $100
  • Interest: $5
  • Tax rate: 25%
  • Cahnegs in working capital: $15
  • Capex: $20

There are no net borrowings in the books

Solution:

The calculation of free cash flow to the firm (FCFF) is as follows,

example 3.2
  • FCFF = (EBITDA – Interest)*(1-T) + Interest*(1-T) + NWC – Capex
  • FCFF = (100 – 5) * (1 – 0.25) + 5 * (1 – 0.25) + 15 – 20

Note: The terms in the parentheses can be solved further as

  • FCFF = (100 – 5 + 5) * (1 – 0.25) + 15 – 20
  • = $70

And,

The calculation of free cash flow to equity (FCFE) is as follows,

example 3.3
  • FCFE = (EBITDA – Interest)*(1-T) +NWC – Capex
  • FCFE = (100 – 5) * (1 – 0.25) + 15 – 20
  • = $66.25

The formula does not account for depreciation charges as it cancels out.

The claim of debt shareholders can be on $70 of the firm’s capital in the case of liquidationLiquidationLiquidation is the process of winding up a business or a segment of the business by selling off its assets. The amount realized by this is used to pay off the creditors and all other liabilities of the business in a specific order.read more or sale. Whereas, the equity shareholders have a lesser amount to claim for, $66.25.

Key Takeaways

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