January 14, 2002
For Immediate Release

Securities Regulators Address Concerns About Non-GAAP Earnings Measures

Toronto - Canada's securities regulators are publishing guidance to address concerns about companies' widespread use of unconventional earnings measures.

Staff of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued today a notice to address concerns about investors being confused or misled by issuers that publish earnings measures other than those prescribed by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ( GAAP ). This notice sets out staff's expectations of issuers that publish non-GAAP earnings measures.

Investors should be cautious when looking at non-GAAP earnings measures, said John Carchrae, Chair of the CSA Chief Accountants Committee. It is important to understand that these measures present only part of the picture and may selectively omit certain expenses, resulting in a more positive portrayal of a company's performance.

It has become common practice for many issuers to publish non-GAAP earnings measures, such as pro forma earnings, operating earnings, cash earnings, EBITDA, and adjusted earnings. These terms lack standard, agreed upon meanings and are unlikely to be comparable to measures presented by other issuers.

Among the expectations for issuers specifically described in the staff notice are the following:

  • Present prominently with the non-GAAP earnings measures the earnings measures for the period determined in accordance with GAAP, and provide a clear reconciliation between the two.

  • Describe the objectives of the non-GAAP earnings measures and discuss the reasons for excluding individual items required by GAAP to be included in determining net income or loss.

  • Avoid including non-GAAP earnings measures within the financial statements.

We are not suggesting that companies should stop reporting non-GAAP earnings measures if they will help investors understand the financial results, said Mr. Carchrae. But it is essential to explain clearly how the measures are calculated, and to include GAAP measures as well, so that investors see the full picture.

Investors can access and download a company's financial disclosure from the CSA's SEDAR database at www.sedar.com. There you can download without charge a company's quarterly and annual financial statements and many other corporate filings.

The document published today, titled Staff Notice 52-303: Non-GAAP Earnings Measures, can be found on the British Columbia Securities Commission website at www.bcsc.bc.ca , the Alberta Securities Commission website at www.albertasecurities.com , the Ontario Securities Commission website at www.osc.gov.on.ca, and the Commission des valeurs mobilires du Qubec website at www.cvmq.com.

For more information:

British Columbia Securities Commission:

Andrew Poon
Media Relations Officer
604-899-6880
1-800-373-6393 (B.C. & Alberta only)

Carla Marie Hait
Chief Accountant
604-899-6726

Alberta Securities Commission:

Joni Delaurier
Communications Coordinator
403-297-4481

Fred Snell
Chief Accountant
403-297-6553

Ontario Securities Commission:

Jeff Codispodi
Communications Officer
416-593-8135

Cameron McInnis
Senior Accountant
416-593-8221

Commission des valeurs mobilires du Qubec

Patrice Bourgoin
Information Officer
514-940-2199 ext. 4434
1-800-361-5072 (Quebec only)

Annie Smargiassi
Spcialiste de la doctrine comptable
514-940-2199 ext. 4577