Common terms used to identify non-GAAP financial measures include “adjusted earnings”, “adjusted EBITDA”, “free cash flow”, “pro forma earnings”, “cash earnings”, “distributable cash”, “adjusted funds from operations”, “earnings before non-recurring items” and measures presented on a constant-currency basis. Many of these terms lack standard meanings. Issuers across a spectrum of industries, and within the same industry, may use the same term to refer to different compositions.
The following are examples of measures that are not captured by the definition:
- Amounts that do not depict historical or future “financial performance”, “financial position” or “cash flow”, which relate to elements of the primary financial statements as defined in the Instrument, such as share price, market capitalization, or credit rating;
- Financial information that does not have the effect of providing a financial measure that is different from a financial measure presented in the primary financial statements, such as the addition or subtraction of an identical line item, or a subtotal or total originating from multiple periods of primary financial statements. For example, rolling 12-month results or fourth quarter revenue calculated by subtracting year-to-date third quarter revenue from the annual revenue presented in primary financial statements; or
- A financial measure which does not exclude an amount that is included in, or include an amount that is excluded from, the composition of the most directly comparable financial measure presented in the primary financial statements of the entity. For example, assets under management representing the total market value of invested assets managed by the issuer which are beneficially owned by clients and not reported in the primary financial statements of the issuer.
When an issuer presents a financial statement line item in a more granular way outside the financial statements, otherwise known as a disaggregation, that number is a component of a line item that has been calculated in accordance with the accounting policies used to prepare the line item presented in the financial statements. Such a financial measure would not be a non-GAAP financial measure because it is not a financial measure which excludes an amount that is included in, or includes an amount that is excluded from, the composition of the most directly comparable financial measure presented in the primary financial statements of the entity. However, even though such a measure would not be a non-GAAP financial measure, it may still meet the definition of a supplementary financial measure.
For example, an issuer may disclose sales per square foot on a periodic basis to depict its financial performance. When the sales figure, included in sales per square foot, is extracted directly from the primary financial statements or is a component of such line item (when the component is calculated in accordance with the issuer’s accounting policies used to prepare the line item presented in the financial statements), the “sales per square foot” measure would not meet the definition of a non-GAAP ratio but would meet the definition of a supplementary financial measure. However, if the sales figure is not calculated in accordance with the issuer’s accounting policies, the “sales per square foot” measure in this example would meet the definition of a non-GAAP ratio.
Combinations of Line Items
A financial measure calculated by combining financial information that originates from different line items from the primary financial statements would meet the definition of a non-GAAP financial measure if the measure depicts financial performance, financial position or cash flow, unless that resulting measure is separately disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures that are Forward-looking Information
Forward-looking information for which there is an equivalent historical financial measure disclosed in the financial statements does not meet the definition of a non-GAAP financial measure. Therefore, section 7 of the Instrument does not apply to measures such as future capital management measures and future total of segments measures.
In addition, if, for example, revenue is disclosed on a forward-looking basis using the accounting policies applied by the issuer in its latest set of financial statements (i.e., revenue as presented in the primary financial statements adjusted only for assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action), this forward-looking revenue is not a non-GAAP financial measure. Conversely, if an issuer discloses EBITDA on a forward-looking basis and does not disclose this financial measure in the financial statements, this forward-looking EBITDA does meet the definition of a non-GAAP financial measure that is forward-looking information.
Issuers are reminded that forward-looking information is subject to the disclosure requirements in Parts 4A and 4B and section 5.8 of National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations (“NI 51-102”).
For clarity, the definition of a non-GAAP financial measure does not include non-financial information such as the following:
- Number of units;
- Number of subscribers;
- Volumetric information;
- Number of employees or workforce by type of contract or geographical location;
- Environmental measures such as greenhouse gas emissions;
- Information on major shareholdings;
- Acquisition or disposal of the issuer’s own shares; and
- Total number of voting rights.
The above list is not exhaustive.
We remind issuers that while non-financial information is not subject to the requirements of the Instrument, non-financial information is subject to various disclosure requirements under applicable securities legislation, including the requirement not to disclose misleading information.