Companies raise debt and equity capital to buy operating and non-operating assets, which are expected to generate revenues going forward. Operating assets are those short-term or long-term, liquid or illiquid, assets acquired for use in the conduct of the core operations of a business. They usually include inventory, prepaid expenses, account receivables and property, plants, and equipment. According to the accounting principles, the revenue generation by these operating assets over a financial period is reported in the Profit and Loss Statement (P&L). And the net difference between the revenue generated by the core operations and the expenses directly relating to generating this revenue is called the Operating Income or Operating Profit. Therefore, the Net Operating Profit after Tax (NOPAT) is the Operating Income adjusted for taxes.
The table below provides an economic view of the P&L, and it is the starting basis to calculate NOPAT.
|Operations||Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – Selling, General, and Administrative expenses (SG&A)|
|Investments||– Depreciation & Amortization|
|Capital structure||– Net financial Expenses/ + Earnings|
|= Earnings before taxes (EBT)|
|Exceptional items and taxes||+ Exceptional items – taxes – minority interests|
|= Net Income|
Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA), is used as a proxy for the company’s profitability and operating cash flows. To calculate this, all the cash operating expenses are deducted from the total revenues. And this value becomes the base to compare the profitability of companies across different industries. Because this value does not impact or influence the level of capital expenditures and depreciation policies.
Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT), or operating profit, actually correct this situation. It is the revenue generated by a company through its core operations and commercial activities. And after deducting cash operating expenses, and non-cash depreciation and amortization expenses. It can be viewed as the EBITDA adjusted for the capital intensiveness of the business.
In most countries, companies are legally required to pay taxes on their income, so the operating profit, or EBIT, is usually adjusted to consider this tax expense to arrive at a figure called NOPAT. NOPAT is calculated as follows:
NOPAT = * (1 – Tax rate)
NOPAT = * (1 – Tax rate)
NOPAT = EBIT * (1 – Tax rate)
You can also refer to our calculator: Net Operating Profit After Tax Calculator.
NOPAT is the net operating profit available to all capital providers, including debt and equity holders. NOPAT does not consider the effect of leverage, so it is only used when calculating figures or ratios related to the firm value instead of equity value, which includes the tax shield associated with debt. NOPAT is often used as an input in DCF models.
Net Income is the NOPAT adjusted for the after-tax effect of financial leverage, non-operating and exceptional items, and minority interest, if necessary. Therefore, net income is the income attributable to equity holders, and it’s why sell-side analysts on Wall Street focus heavily on earnings per share. The formula to calculate Net Income from NOPAT can be summarized as follows:
Net Income = NOPAT + * (1-Tax rate)
There is a subtle difference between NOPAT and Net Operating Profit Less Adjusted Taxes (NOPLAT) that is nonetheless important. Generally, accounting and tax rules are different, so expenses that are deductible for accounting purposes may not be deductible for tax purposes, or the deduction rules may differ.
The most common example is depreciation. In the US, fixed assets are often depreciated on a straight-line basis on the P&L but on an accelerated depreciation basis for tax purposes, resulting in a deferred tax liability. It should be noted, however, that deferred taxes are usually temporary, so NOPLAT and NOPAT should converge in a long-term forecast.
The formula for NOPLAT is written as:
NOPLAT = (1 – Tax rate) * EBIT + Changes in Deferred Taxes
To better understand how these figures are calculated in practice, you can look at the P&L below, which provides a line-by-line example of the main items on the top line and bottom line.
It is very important to note that NOPAT calculation is done mostly on a theoretical or proforma basis. This is to compare the operating efficiencies of firms across the industry without the influence of their capital mix/capital structure. As we know, debt has its own cost, and interest is tax-deductible. Hence, same-size companies with different debt-equity mixes will show different operating profits due to the tax impact. Therefore, the operating efficiency comparison becomes difficult. So, to do away with the capital structure mix effect, NOPAT is calculated. In other words, NOPAT is the profit available to all the stakeholders- debt holders, shareholders, investors, and so on.
Except when the tax rules of a country may require a company to pay taxes as per their operating profits.
Read What is the Best Definition of Profit? to learn more.