Understanding Operational Margin VS EBITDA

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Navigating financial metrics is essential for sound decision-making in business. Two key indicators, operational margin and EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation), play pivotal roles in assessing a company’s financial health. While both provide insights into profitability, they capture different aspects of a company’s financial performance. Understanding the distinctions between the two is crucial for informed financial analysis. In this blog, we will learn more about these metrics. So, read on.

Defining Operational Margin and EBITDA

Operational Margin

Operational margin, also known as operating margin, is a financial metric that measures the profitability of a company’s core operations by expressing operating income as a percentage of revenue. It focuses solely on operational efficiency and excludes interest, taxes, and non-operational expenses.


EBITDA is a financial metric that provides a broader view of a company’s profitability by adding back interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation to net income. It reflects the earnings generated from core business operations before accounting for financing, taxes, and non-cash expenses.

These metrics serve distinct purposes, with Operational Margin honing in on operational efficiency, while EBITDA provides a comprehensive picture of a company’s overall earnings potential by excluding non-operational factors. Understanding both metrics is crucial for a comprehensive evaluation of a company’s financial performance.

Importance of Operating Revenues and Operating Expenses

Operating Revenue

A company’s revenue streams can originate from diverse channels, such as product sales, subsidiary sales, and investment activities. However, the focal point for investors is primarily the revenue generated through core business operations, often referred to as operating revenue. This distinction is crucial as operating revenue reflects the core business’s ability to generate income, a key metric for investors.

Investors prioritise operating revenue because it provides insights into the sustained income-generating capacity of the core business. In contrast, non-operating revenues, which may include one-off events, can distort the overall financial picture, leading to inflated or depressed earnings.

Consider a scenario where a company incurs a loss of ₹10 Cr from its core operations but compensates with a ₹25 Cr income from selling a subsidiary. While the net income appears as ₹15 Cr, focusing solely on the top and bottom lines can obscure the genuine financial health of the company.

Operating Expenses

Similarly, in assessing a company’s expenses, investors emphasise operating expenses. These encompass the costs directly associated with day-to-day operations, such as raw materials, employee wages, machinery expenses, and advertising costs. Operating expenses exclude other expenditures like interest costs and taxes, providing a clearer picture of the core operational costs associated with producing goods or services.

Understanding Operating Profit Margins

The operational health of a company is often gauged through its operating profit or income, derived by subtracting the company’s expenses from its operating revenue. To quantify this efficiency, investors employ the operating profit margin, a key metric obtained by dividing the operating income by the overall revenue and multiplying the result by 100.


Operating Profit Margin = (Operating Profit / Revenue) * 100

Investors utilise this metric to assess the company’s ability to convert revenue into profits after accounting for essential expenses. It essentially represents the percentage of revenue remaining after covering day-to-day operational costs. Notably, these operational costs exclude items like interest, taxes, and gains or losses from investments. Consequently, the operating profit margin is also known as the earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin. This metric provides a clear perspective on a company’s operational efficiency and financial viability.

Understanding EBITDA Margin

EBIT (Earning before interest and tax), or operating profits, forms a crucial financial metric but includes depreciation and amortisation costs. Eliminate these costs, and you arrive at EBITDA.


EBITDA = EBIT (Operating Income) + Depreciation + Amortisation

The EBITDA margin, calculated by dividing a company’s EBITDA by its revenue and multiplying by 100, provides a distinct perspective on financial performance.


EBITDA Margin = EBITDA/Revenue100*

Creating EBITDA by excluding depreciation and amortisation costs from operating income offers a clearer view of a company’s real operating performance and profit-generating capabilities.

Operating Margin Vs EBITDA Margin

While EBIT includes depreciation and amortisation, EBITDA does not. Investors often prefer EBITDA as it provides a more accurate picture of a company’s operational efficiency and profit generation.

Consider two manufacturing businesses with similar operating profit margins. Company A undertakes a capital expansion, affecting its operating margins due to higher depreciation from fixed asset additions. However, EBITDA remains unaffected, offering a more accurate reflection of Company A’s ongoing operational performance. This example underscores the significance of considering EBITDA for a comprehensive assessment of a company’s financial health.


Understanding the difference between operational margin and EBITDA is pivotal for comprehensive financial analysis. While the former focuses on the profitability of a company’s core operations by considering all revenue and operating expenses, EBITDA provides a broader perspective by excluding depreciation and amortisation costs. Operational margin emphasises day-to-day efficiency, while EBITDA offers insights into a company’s overall earnings potential, making both metrics valuable tools for investors seeking a nuanced understanding of a company’s financial health.

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