Calculation of Earnings per Share

Both IFRS and US GAAP require a company to present its earnings per share (EPS) on the face of the income statement for net profit or loss (net income) and profit or loss (income) from continuing operations. How EPS, however, is calculated will depend on whether the company has a simple or complex capital structure.

Simple vs. Complex Capital Structures

A company is said to have a complex capital structure if it has issued any financial instrument which is potentially convertible into common stock (or ordinary shares).  Examples of these financial instruments include convertible bonds, convertible preferred stock, and employee stock options. The company is said to have a simple capital structure if its capital structure does not include such potentially convertible financial instruments.

Financial instruments that are potentially convertible into common stock could potentially dilute or decrease EPS due to the increase in the number of ordinary shares after conversion.  The EPS that results from the conversion of all dilutive financial instruments is called diluted EPS.

Basic EPS is used to describe EPS which does not involve the conversion of dilutive financial instruments and is calculated using the reported earnings available to common shareholders of the company and the weighted average number of shares outstanding.

Companies are required to report both basic and diluted EPS.

Calculation of Basic EPS

Basic EPS is computed as follows:

$$ \text{Basic EPS} =\cfrac {\text{net income} – \text{preferred dividends}}{\text{weighted average number of shares outstanding}} $$

Where ‘net income – preferred dividends’ is the amount of income available to common shareholders, and ‘weighted average number of shares outstanding’ is a time weighting of outstanding common shares.

Basic EPS will be equal to diluted EPS whenever a company has a simple capital structure. If however, the company has a complex capital structure, then diluted EPS will be less than or equal to basic EPS.

Calculation of diluted EPS for three types of potentially dilutive financial instruments: convertible preferred, convertible debt, and employee stock options

  • Calculation of diluted EPS whenever a company has convertible preferred stock outstanding is done using the if-converted method. The if-converted method looks at the effect of converting the convertible preferred shares at the beginning of the period. This results in a higher weighted average number of shares outstanding and a higher net income available to common shareholders than in the basic EPS calculation.
    Diluted EPS = Net Income / (Weighted average number of shares outstanding + New common shares that would have been issued at conversion)
  • Calculation of diluted EPS whenever a company has convertible debt outstanding is also done using the if-converted method.
    Diluted EPS = (Net Income + After-tax Interest on Convertible Debt – Preferred Dividends) / (Weighted Average Number of Shares Outstanding + Additional Common Shares that would have been Issued at Conversion)
  • Calculation of diluted EPS whenever a company has stock options, warrants, or their equivalents outstanding is done as if the financial instruments had been exercised and the company used the proceeds to repurchase as many shares of common stock as possible at the average market price of common stock during the period. The methodology is called the treasury stock method under US GAAP.
    Diluted EPS = (Net Income + After-tax Interest on Convertible Debt – Preferred Dividends) / [Weighted Average Number of Shares Outstanding + (New Shares that would have been Purchased with Cash Received upon Exercise *Proportion of Year during which the Financial Instruments were Outstanding)]

Question

If at the end of its financial year, a company has net income of $10 million, 2,000,000 shares of common stock outstanding, and no preferred stock or convertible financial instruments, which of the following is accurate?

A. The company has a simple capital structure with a basic EPS of $5.00.

B. The company has a complex capital structure with a diluted EPS of $5.00.

C. The company has a complex capital structure with a diluted EPS of less than $5.00.

Solution

The correct answer is A.

The company has a simple capital structure given that it does not have any potentially convertible financial instrument, and has a basic EPS of $10,000,000/2,000,000 shares = $5.00.

Reading 21 LOS 21g:

Describe how earnings per share is calculated and calculate and interpret a company’s earnings per share (both basic and diluted earnings per share) for both simple and complex capital structures

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