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How Valuation Multiples Vary By Industry

Garry Stephensen

Article Author: Garry Stephensen
Position: Managing Director
Read time: 5 mins

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Determining the value of a business in the Australian market is a complex task that involves considering various factors. This article explores the EBITDA valuation multiples by industry, focusing on the nuances of each sector specific to Australian businesses.  This is especially important if you're thinking sell your business.

We will delve into the importance of "EBITDA add backs" for business sellers, providing a detailed understanding of this valuation methodology.


Valuation Multiples - What are they?

The multiples approach remains a widely adopted method for business valuation in Australia. This method involves selecting a fundamental metric (such as revenue or EBITDA) and applying industry-specific multiplication factors. While this approach might seem straightforward, a nuanced understanding of industry dynamics is crucial for an accurate business valuation.

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EBITDA Multiples by Industry

Financial Services

The financial sector in Australia is characterized by high EBITDA multiples ranging from 4 to 6 times. This range is influenced by factors such as the diversity and nature of earnings, the level of assets required, and the markets in which the company operates. Notably, outliers can experience multiples as low as 3-4x or as high as 6-8x. Given the rapid changes in technology, regulatory environment, and consumer focus, this sector is witnessing heightened interest from buyers and sellers.

Retail

In the retail sector, EBITDA multiples typically range from 2 to 4 times. The variability within this range is influenced by factors such as exposure to major supermarket chains, diversity of product lines, consumer trends, and the split between domestic and international sales. With market changes providing consumers more choices, strategic and financial buyers are actively seeking unique businesses for acquisition.

Tourism

As one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, tourism businesses in Australia are adapting to the changing landscape. EBITDA multiples in this sector range from 3 to 5 times, depending on target demographics, service offerings, barriers to entry, and capital intensiveness. Despite challenges, private equity firms and global tourism operators continue to grow through acquisitions, emphasizing the importance for business owners to structure their operations effectively.  The city your business is based in will impact your multiple. As major cities Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne will impact valuations positively.  Meanwhile, rural locations will provide a more modest valuation multiple.


How Valuation Multiples Vary By Industry


Transport and Logistics

The Transport and Logistics sector in Australia is witnessing growth driven by technology-enabled solutions. EBITDA multiples for this sector range from 3 to 6 times, influenced by factors such as cargo volume, cartage specialization, geographic partners, access to priority trade routes, supply chain support, and the level of automation. With consumer and business purchasing trends evolving, large organizations must adapt to remain relevant in this sector.

eCommerce & IT

The adoption of technology has accelerated, allowing small to medium-sized businesses in Australia to establish profitable niche positions. EBITDA multiples in this sector are highly variable, ranging from 4 to 8 times. Factors affecting these multiples include revenue or business model, client quality, scalability, market presence, and the pace of technological change. Acquisition activity is supported by large strategic buyers looking to integrate services and financial sponsors attracted by consistent earnings and growth.



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Education

The education sector, as Australia's third-largest export industry, is a unique blend of public and private interests. EBITDA multiples in this sector typically range from 3 to 6 times, depending on the type of service provided, the breadth of course offerings, content quality, types of courses, and student demographics. Despite sensitivity to regulatory changes, long-term growth prospects are attracting interest from local and international buyers, including strategic and financial investors.

Healthcare

The healthcare sector in Australia remains a seller's market, characterized by EBITDA multiples ranging from 4 to 8 times. Factors influencing this range include national presence, effective use of technology, exclusivity on product or category distribution, contracts with the government, scalability, and growth prospects. Global trends, such as COVID-19, aging populations, and technological advancements, are impacting the sector, prompting healthcare business owners to strategically respond.


How Valuation Multiples Vary By Industry


Key Factors Impacting Multiples

Beyond industry-specific considerations, several factors can add or detract between 0.5x to 1.5x on a multiple for any given company. These factors include the depth of the management team, geographic coverage, brand recognition, size and scale, and the reliability of revenue and earnings (recurring or one-off).


EBITDA Add Backs: Enhancing Business Valuation

When discussing Business Valuations, it's important to understand the difference between a Business Valuation Vs Business Appraisal. Understanding the significance of "EBITDA add backs" is crucial for business sellers. These adjustments involve adding back non-operating expenses or one-time charges to the EBITDA figure, providing a clearer picture of the company's true earning potential. The formula for calculating EBITDA add backs includes non-operating expenses and one-time charges.

As the Australian business landscape continues to evolve, a nuanced understanding of EBITDA valuation multiples by industry is crucial for both buyers and sellers. Industry-specific dynamics, regulatory environments, and market trends significantly influence these multiples. Sellers, in particular, benefit from considering EBITDA add backs to present a more accurate representation of their business's financial performance, thereby attracting potential buyers and maximizing value.

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