ESMA’s Final Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures (APMs) set out the principles that issuers should follow when presenting APMs in documents which qualify as regulated information and address their labelling, calculation, presentation and comparability.
The aim of the guidelines is to encourage European issuers to publish transparent, unbiased and comparable information on their financial performance in order to provide users a comprehensive understanding of their performance. Examples of APMs most commonly used include EBIT (Earnings Before Interest & Tax), EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation), free cash flow, and underlying profit or net-debt. Adherence to the guidelines will improve the comparability, reliability and comprehensibility of APMs.
Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “I strongly believe that compliance with these guidelines will provide end-users with a more comprehensive and transparent representation of the financial measures disclosed by European issuers to the market,” he continued. “The application of these guidelines to regulated documents like prospectuses, financial reports, and market disclosures will foster investor protection, avoid regulatory arbitrage and contribute to a single rulebook by promoting a uniform and consistent application of the requirements across the EU.”
The guidelines will apply to issuers with securities traded on regulated markets, and persons responsible for drawing up a prospectus. They will be supervised by competent authorities and other bodies in the EU with responsibilities under the Transparency Directive, Prospectus Directive or Market Abuse regulation.
The proposed guidelines are aligned with other regulations and guidance issued by securities regulators in the United States, Australia and Canada on this matter.
In order to enable sufficient time for issuers to prepare for applying these guidelines and to align their application with the entry into force of the new Market Abuse Regulation, the guidelines are effective from 3 July 2016.
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