Understanding Cash EBITDA vs EBITDA

When it comes to financial analysis, the terms EBITDA and Cash EBITDA often come up. Both are important metrics used to evaluate a company’s financial performance. But what exactly do they mean, and how do they differ? Let’s dive in and find out.

What is EBITDA?

EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It’s a measure that’s often used to analyze and compare profitability among companies and industries, as it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions.

EBITDA is particularly useful when comparing companies within the same industry, as it removes the effects of financing and investment decisions. This allows for a more direct comparison of business performance.

How to Calculate EBITDA

Calculating EBITDA is relatively straightforward. You start with a company’s net income, then add back interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. The formula looks like this:

EBITDA = Net Income + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization

By adding these items back to net income, EBITDA provides a clearer picture of a company’s operational profitability, as it excludes non-operating expenses.

What is Cash EBITDA?

Cash EBITDA, on the other hand, is a variation of the EBITDA metric. It’s often used to evaluate a company’s cash flow performance. While EBITDA focuses on operational profitability, Cash EBITDA provides insight into how much cash a company is generating.

Just like EBITDA, Cash EBITDA is a useful tool for comparing the financial performance of different companies. However, it’s particularly valuable for businesses where cash flow is a critical factor, such as those in capital-intensive industries.

How to Calculate Cash EBITDA

The calculation for Cash EBITDA is a bit more complex than for EBITDA. It starts with EBITDA, but then adds back any non-cash expenses and subtracts any non-cash income. The formula looks like this:

Cash EBITDA = EBITDA + Non-Cash Expenses – Non-Cash Income

This calculation provides a clearer picture of a company’s ability to generate cash flow from its operations.

Comparing Cash EBITDA and EBITDA

While EBITDA and Cash EBITDA are similar in many ways, they serve different purposes and can provide different insights into a company’s financial health.

EBITDA is a measure of operational profitability, while Cash EBITDA is a measure of cash flow. Therefore, a company could have a high EBITDA but low Cash EBITDA if it’s profitable on paper but has poor cash flow.

Conversely, a company could have a low EBITDA but high Cash EBITDA if it’s not profitable on paper but generates strong cash flow. This could be the case for a company that has high non-cash expenses, such as depreciation.

When to Use Each Metric

Whether to use EBITDA or Cash EBITDA depends on what you’re trying to evaluate. If you’re looking at a company’s operational profitability, EBITDA may be the better choice. However, if you’re interested in a company’s cash flow, Cash EBITDA could provide more useful information.

It’s also worth noting that neither EBITDA nor Cash EBITDA should be used in isolation. They’re both useful tools, but they’re just part of the overall picture. Other financial metrics, such as net income, free cash flow, and debt levels, should also be considered when evaluating a company’s financial health.


Understanding the difference between EBITDA and Cash EBITDA is crucial for anyone involved in financial analysis. While they’re similar in many ways, they provide different insights into a company’s financial performance.

By using these metrics effectively, you can gain a deeper understanding of a company’s profitability and cash flow, helping you make more informed investment decisions.

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