EBITDA is operating profit before depreciation and amortization. In other words, virtually the profit made by the company before it has to bear the cost of its debt, its tax burden and its long-term asset investment requirements.

It should be borne in mind that applying an EV/EBITDA-type valuation multiple to listed companies, without discriminating between their individual characteristics and sectors of activity, is more often than not like comparing apples and oranges.

The "DA" component, for example, which theoretically corresponds to the investments required to keep the business profitable, is much higher in infrastructure or telecoms businesses than in consumer goods or software publishing.

As a result, the share of profit distributable to the various stakeholders - creditors and shareholders - will be much lower in the former than in the latter. They therefore deserve a clear valuation discount.

In the same vein, and still at the risk of comparing the incomparable, the multiple must take into account the economic characteristics of the business. In highly capital-intensive sectors, unfortunately all too often, the return on capital invested in operations is lower than the cost of that same capital; the destruction of value is therefore tangible.

In this case, too, a discount must be applied to the valuation multiple. Next, we need to take into account each company's capital structure. Even if they operate in the same sector and with comparable profitability levels, one may have a much higher level of debt than the other, which would then finance itself more from equity.

This first company therefore deserves a valuation discount in view of the financial risk incurred, and of course the lesser ownership of profits attributable to shareholders.