Economic Value Added

Economic Profit or Economic Value Added explained

Note: “Economic Value Added” (EVA®) is a registered trademark of Stern Stewart & Co.

One of the most useful performance measurements to account for the ways in which business value can be added or lost is Economic Value Added or EVA. Another term for this metric is Economic Profit.

EVA subtracts the cost of capital from the net operating profits after tax (NOPAT) generated in the business. It is a measure of the residual income from the income statement after accounting for the cost of the balance sheet.

Economic Value Added will increase if:

  • New capital is invested and it earns more than the cost of capital.
  • Capital is divested from the business if it does not cover the cost of capital.
  • NOPAT increases without increasing the capital employed.


Use EVA as a performance measure


Economic Value Added is a performance measurement that links directly with the intrinsic value of the business.

The formula for EVA is:

EVA=(r – c*) x Capital employed

r = economic rate of return
c* = cost of capital

EVA example:

Total capital employed = $2,000
c* = 10%
r = 12.5%
EVA = (12.5% – 10%) x 2,000
EVA= $50.00

Note that:
r = economic rate of return on capital employed (also referred to as EcROCE%)


EcROCE% calculated:

EcROCE % = NOPAT % x Capital Turnover


Economic Value Added as a valuation methodology


An overview

Many businesses have an objective to maximize shareholder wealth. While very few people would disagree that this is a good objective for any business, how this objective should be achieved is much less certain.

Firstly, how will returns to shareholders be measured?

Generally, returns are represented by returns to shareholders via dividends and increases in the value of the market price of their shares.

For many years, managers and shareholders have believed that growth in annual earnings per share and increases in return on equity were the best measures for maximizing shareholder wealth. However, more recently there has been a growing awareness that these conventional accounting measures are not reliably linked to increasing the value of the company’s shares. This occurs because earnings do not reflect changes in risk and inflation, nor do they take account of the cost of additional capital invested to finance growth.


There are a number of other reasons why earnings fail to measure changes in the economic value of the business.

These are:

  • Alternative accounting methods may be employed.
  • Dividend policy is not considered.
  • The time value of money is ignored.

The value of companies shares will only increase if management can earn a rate of return on new investments which is greater than the rate investors expect to earn by investing in alternative, equally risky companies.

Since the concept of “maximizing shareholder wealth” was developed in the 1970’s, more and more enlightened managers are focusing on strategies which maximize economic returns for shareholders, as measured by dividends plus the increase in the company’s share price.

One way of viewing the “shareholder value” approach is to value the business using Economic Value Added as a valuation methodology.

Market value added (MVA)

The market value of a business at a point in time is an approximation of the fair value of the business’s entire debt and equity capitalization . This can be arrived at by taking the number of shares and multiplying by the share price and adding the book value of long and short term loans net of any cash deposits.

Theoretically, market value at a point in time is equal to the total capital employed plus or minus the net present value of all future Economic Value Added. Therefore, market value is maximized by maximizing the present value of future Economic Value Added.

Consequently, if we prepare a projection of annual Economic Value Added into the future and discount these projections to the present value, at the cost of capital, we get an estimation of market value that management has added to or subtracted from the total capital employed in the business.

This present value of all future Economic Value Added is theoretically equal to market value added, MVA. Therefore the market value of a business is:

Market value = MVA + capital employed.


Advantages of Market Value Added (MVA) / EVA as a performance measurement

By forecasting Economic Value Added for each year it shows how much value will be added to the capital employed each year.

It is the only method that can clearly connect capital budgeting and strategic investment decisions with a methodology for subsequent evaluation of actual performance.

By forecasting Economic Value Added amounts it automatically produces a series of targets for management to achieve in order to justify the valuation.

It can be readily communicated to and understood by operational management.

Through the computation of Economic Value Added amounts Economic Value Added creates a meaningful performance measurement which can be used to judge subsequent performance. (The cash flow performance of one business just cannot be compared with another).

For a project to be favorably considered, market value added must be positive. On the other hand free cash flow may fluctuate from positive to negative and back again over the life of the project.

Economic Value Added focuses managements attention on the fundamental three ways to create value. These are:-

Improve profits without making a further investment in additional capital.

Only invest in projects where earnings exceed the cost of capital.

Dis-invest from projects where the savings on the capital cost exceeds earnings foregone.


Discounting the benefits of these strategies in free cash flow terms makes them difficult to understand.

Because Economic Value Added is a powerful overall measurement of managements performance, it is an ideal method for setting corporate goals, management incentives and the payment of performance bonuses.

This cannot be achieved with cash flow. It links planning to performance…..and performance to value.



The creation of wealth can be achieved in the real world through the use of economic profit / economic value added as a performance measurement linking strategy to value.

The managers of many well known international corporations have succeeded in substantially increasing the value of their business entities by using this valuable tool.

The dynamics of using Economic Value Added and market value added have a very powerful application in every business entity, irrespective of size or industry. The Economic Value Added methodology can be applied to create wealth for the owners of businesses from the size of the corner store to that of the multinational corporations. It is now up to us as business executives and advisers to assist owners with the implementation of business strategies which are consistent with the principle of Economic Value Added. We are now able to use economic profit as a performance measurement which directly links strategy to value and is therefore the key to wealth creation.

Strategic Focus software helps business to assess the impact of new and existing strategies on the valuation of the business using Economic profit and Free cash flow.



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