We include in special gains and charges items that are unusual in nature, significant in amount and important to an understanding of underlying business performance. In order to better allow investors to compare underlying business performance period-to-period, we provide adjusted diluted earnings per share, which excludes special gains and charges and discrete tax items.
Adjusted EBITDA is defined as operating income, before depreciation and amortization, and excludes special gains and charges. We provide adjusted EBITDA as we believe that it is an important measure of operating performance because it allows management, investors and others to evaluate and compare our core operating results from period to period by removing the impact of our capital structure (interest expense from our outstanding debt), asset base (depreciation and amortization), and changes in tax rates. Furthermore, we use adjusted EBITDA for business planning purposes and to evaluate and price potential acquisitions.
Free cash flow is defined as cash from operations less capital expenditures; it is a useful measure of funds that can be used for business investments, strategic acquisitions and to reduce debt.
The non-GAAP financial measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP, and may be different from non-GAAP measures used by other companies. Investors should not rely on any single financial measure when evaluating our business. We recommend that investors view these measures in conjunction with the applicable GAAP measures.(ECL-A)