Group statement of cash flows

At EUR 3.593 bn, the operating cash flow as at 31 December 2015 was up considerably, namely by 19.7 percent on the prior-year value (2014: EUR 3.001 bn). This means that cash flow showed an above-average increase compared with operating profit, which rose by 5.4 percent to EUR 4.131 bn. It should be noted that in 2014 Linde made a payment of EUR 300 m to provide additional funding for the defined benefit pension plans in Germany. After adjusting for this one-off item, the cash flow was 8.8 percent higher than in the previous year. In addition to the solid operating profit due to positive exchange rate effects, a one-off payment of EUR 159 m that Linde received within the context of the revision of a high-volume gas supply contract with a customer from Singapore also contributed to this increase. Income taxes paid fell from EUR 599 m to EUR 533 m in the 2015 financial year.

The change in working capital came to EUR 55 m on the balance sheet date, roughly on a par with the prior-year level (2014: EUR 62 m). Two contrary effects have to be taken into account in this regard: the good working capital management in the Gases Division was offset by lower advance payments received in the Engineering Division.

Payments made for investments in tangible fixed assets, intangible assets and financial assets came to EUR 1.970 bn, down by EUR 39 m on the prior year (2014: EUR 2.009 bn). Payments made for investments in consolidated companies came to EUR 113 m (2014: EUR 65 m) and largely include the payment for the acquisition of the assets and liabilities of the LPG business of Wesfarmers Kleenheat Gas Pty Ltd as part of an asset deal in the amount of EUR 53 m.

The operating free cash flow therefore came to EUR 1.699 bn on the balance sheet date (2014: EUR 1.288 bn).

Payments of EUR 99 m were received in the period under review resulting from the sale of securities (2014: payouts of EUR 350 m).

Net balance of loans and capital market liabilities raised and redeemed was EUR −430 m in 2015 (2014: EUR 27 m). It should be noted here that a EUR 600 m bond was redeemed by Linde in 2015. 2014 includes a payout for the issue of a EUR 300 m bond by Linde to provide additional funding for the pension plans in Germany.

After deducting dividend payments of EUR 701 m (2014: EUR 645 m) and net interest payments of EUR 364 m (2014: EUR 358 m) as well as other changes, the change in cash and cash equivalents in 2015 was an increase of EUR 279 m (2014: decrease of EUR 64 m).

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Group statement of cash flows (summary)

 

 

 

 

 

in EUR m

 

2015

 

2014

Operating profit

 

4,131

 

3,920

Change in working capital

 

55

 

62

Income taxes paid

 

−533

 

−599

Other changes

 

−60

 

−82

Cash flow from operating activities before transfer to pension plans

 

3,593

 

3,301

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer to pension plans

 

 

−300

Operating cash flow

 

3,593

 

3,001

 

 

 

 

 

Cash outflow for investments in tangible assets, intangible assets and financial assets (excluding securities)

 

−1,970

 

−2,009

Payments for investments in consolidated companies

 

−113

 

−65

Cash inflows from the disposal of assets

 

189

 

361

Operating free cash flow

 

1,699

 

1,288

 

 

 

 

 

Payments for/proceeds from investments in securities

 

99

 

−350

Net cash inflows/outflows from the proceeds/repayment of loans and capital market debt

 

−430

 

27

Dividend payments to Linde AG shareholders and non-controlling interests

 

−701

 

−645

Net interest payments

 

−364

 

−358

Other changes

 

−24

 

−26

Change in cash and cash equivalents

 

279

 

−64