Sunday, February 28

Net Operating Profit after Tax (NOPAT)

Net Operating Profit after Tax (NOPAT) is a sustainability dimension that computes the theoretical quantity of money a business could spread to its shareholders when it had zero debt. To put it differently, this is the number of benefits that a firm earns from the operations after taxation without respect to interest obligations. In the event the firm had no duties in the novels, it’d have the ability to distribute this whole quantity of cash to its shareholders in the conclusion of the year.

Definition – What is NOPAT?

Both shareholders and lenders utilize this fiscal ratio to judge just how profitable a firm’s surgeries are and how they are supposed to cover debt and shareholders obligations. Normally, they simply utilize this as an indicator since it’s not the specific dimension. The accrual procedure of accounting typically generates a time gap between when earnings have been known for publication purposes and if they’re known for tax purposes. Therefore, there’s normally a gap between the true currency which may be dispersed to shareholders and the total calculated.

Analysts also employ this calculation for a measure of operating performance after all it computes just how rewarding a firm’s surgeries are without considering its own funding arrangement. For this comprehension, NOPAT is generally considered the most precise measure of operating performance for most leveraged businesses. Analysts also often utilize this in other free money flow and economical value-added calculations.

Let’s look at how to compute NOPAT and what equations are utilized.


The NOPAT formulation is figured by establishing a firm’s operating earnings by 1 minus the corporate tax rate.

NOPAT Formula

NOPAT = Operating benefit X (1 – Tax speed )

If a thorough income statement isn’t available and you can’t even work out the working in the future of the organization, you always have the option to figure out the net operating benefit after taxation equation utilizing net earnings by backing from the interest payments similar to this.

NOPAT Equation Using Net Income

NOPAT = Net Profit Net Interest X (1 – Tax speed )

As you may see, it’s a fairly simple formula to compute. The operating benefit, net earnings, and interest expense should are reported on the income announcement. Sometimes, the tax expense is recorded about the Surface of the financial statements, but the majority of the time it isn’t.

You can either find the appropriate tax rate by looking up the corporate benefits for the year in the IRS publications or you can check the financial statement notes and management analysis and discussion. Public companies should also have public records of their tax rates.

Now that we know how to calculate the NOPAT equation, let’s take a look at an example.


Let’s assume that Brighter Corp. manufactures light bulbs. This year it report the following items on its income statement:

Brighter Corp. Calculations Amounts
Revenue a $100
Operating expense b P
Operating benefit c = a – b $50
Interest expense d $10
Profit Before Taxes e = c – d $40
Tax (30%) f $12
Net Profit g = e – f $28

Some simple explanation of the main terms in the above table:

Revenue: The total value of business generated from the regular activities of a company

Operating expense: The cost incurred by the company to generate ‘Revenue’

Operating benefit: The money remaining with the company after paying for its operating activities

Interest: Interest repayment for any borrowings (similar to the interest individuals pay for house loan or education loan etc.)

Tax: The tax actually paid by the company (similar to the income tax paid by individuals)

Net Profit: Net money remaining with the company after paying for all types of costs and expenses.

Let’s calculate Brighter Corp’s NOPAT using both of our two equations.

Operating Profit Equation

NOPAT Example Using Operating Profit Equation

NOPAT = 50 (1-30%) = 35

Net Income Equation

NOPAT Example Using Net Income Calculation

NOPAT = 28 + 10 (1-30%) = 28 + 7 = 35

It’s no surprise that both the methods gave us a similar result. Interestingly, the net benefit of the company is $28 but if the interest component is removed the NOPAT becomes $35. Obviously, if the company doesn’t have debt on its books than Net benefit will be equivalent to NOPAT.

For a business, operating benefit and net benefit are two crucial parameters. Operating benefit informs us concerning the functioning efficiency of this business while net benefit is a measure of total development of a business. But, these two parameters have specific limitations. Running benefit doesn’t take into account the tax implication on the profitability, while net benefit includes the impact of interest payment (and the corresponding tax profit – remember tax is calculated after reducing interest payment).

This is where the concept of NOPAT comes in. It is the operating benefit of a company after reducing the tax. This hybrid calculation can help us understand the operating performance of a company without the influence of debt.

Let’s look at a real-world example now.

Real-world example

Net Operating Profit After Tax Definition and Meaning

We compare Wal-Mart and Costco. It is worth highlighting that for an effective comparison we should select peers within the similar industry. Further, it is also a good practice to select companies of comparable size and similar business models. If we select companies that are too small, the comparison may be inaccurate. With size, a company gets better operational efficiency. Thus, the comparison may unduly penalizing the smaller peers.

NOPAT Meaning – Analysis and Interpretation

Any ratio or number may not be very useful on a standalone basis. It has to be compared to the company’s own history and others within its industry. Historical analysis will tell is if the company has improved its performance or not. While peer analysis will tell us how the company stakes within the peer set in terms of operational efficiency.

In our Brighter Corp example, the company had a net operation benefit after tax of $35. This means that if the company had no debt, it would have $35 leftover after all of the operating expenses and taxes have been paid to distribute to its shareholders. This is somewhat meaningless without a benchmark to reference. Let’s assume the industry standard is $55. Brighter Corp is well beneath the industry standard, but this might have to do with it’s margin or other factors that should be investigated.

In the example above, NOPAT for Wal-Mart has reduced from 2014 to 2016 while for Costco it has improved. There could be various reasons for this trend such as improving operating margin, changing product mix etc. (Do note that in this article we are not describing in details the concepts such as ‘working margin’ or other relevant topics such as EVA analysis or FCFF calculations).

Usage Explanations and Cautions

In addition to analyzing the underlying efficiency of a company and comparing it to peers, analysts also use it to calculate EVA (Economic Value Add) or FCFF (Free Cash Flow to Firm). Without going into the details of what these terms mean, it would suffice to understand these numbers are actively used by analysts to conduct company/business valuation exercise and M&A targeting of potential companies.

In the case of acquisition analysis, investors would like to understand the core operating efficiency of a company without the impact of debt on its books. This is important because once they acquire a company, they might replace the debt with their own capital. Hypothetically, if someone wants to acquire one of the two companies mentioned above and has to make the decision purely based NOPAT (i.e. not consider other factors), they will go to Wal-Mart (do note: business decisions are not that simplistic)!

In conclusion, through this article, we have tried to introduce an important concept in finance for beginners. As you work your way through different concepts you can start noticing different patterns in the financial jigsaw puzzle and start getting the holistic picture.