[37] Consolidated statement of cash flows

The consolidated statement of cash flows shows the changes in cash and cash equivalents in the KION Group resulting from cash inflows and outflows in the year under review, broken down into cash flow from operating, investing and financing activities. The effects on cash from changes in exchange rates are shown separately. Cash flow from operating activities is presented using the indirect method in which the profit or loss for the year is adjusted for non-cash operating items.

The KION Group’s net cash provided by operating activities totalled €677.9 million, which was significantly higher than the prior-year figure (2014: €603.8 million). This increase was attributable to contributions from operating profit and other incoming payments. The higher working capital, the rise in the volume of leasing and higher tax payments were fully offset as a result.

Net cash used for investing activities amounted to €345.2 million (2014: net cash used of €297.8 million). Capital expenditure on developments (R&D), property, plant and equipment, and the rental fleet business (net) rose by €48.9 million year on year. Total expenditure on the acquisition of equity investments amounted to €84.9 million. The acquisition of Egemin Automation resulted in a net outflow of funds of €68.6 million; the three other acquisitions led to cash payments of €16.3 million. The acquisitions of equity investments were partly offset by the sale of the 20.0 per cent of the shares in Linde Hydraulics to Weichai Power, which resulted in a relatively high inflow of funds of €77.4 million.

Free cash flow – the sum of cash flow from operating activities and investing activities – increased by €26.8 million to €332.7 million in the reporting period (2014: €305.9 million). As in 2014, a large part of this was used for repayments.

At minus €329.1 million, cash flow from financing activities was down significantly on the prior-year figure (2014: minus €428.1 million), which had been affected by the repayment of the corporate bonds and other factors. The net repayment of financial debt in the year under review totalled €224.0 million (2014: €301.2 million). The financial debt taken up during the year, which came to €911.0 million, was more than offset by repayments totalling €1,134.9 million. The repayments in 2014 had included €525.0 million in respect of the early redemption of the bond tranches plus early repayment charges of €14.8 million. Net cash of €43.3 million was also used for regular interest payments (2014: €82.5 million). The distribution of a dividend of €0.55 per share (2014: €0.35 per share) resulted in an outflow of funds of €54.3 million (2014: €34.5 million), while the acquisition of 70,000 treasury shares generated an outflow of €2.7 million.

Supported by favourable currency effects of €0.5 million (2014: €1.8 million), this resulted overall in a small rise in cash and cash equivalents, which advanced from €98.9 million as at the end of 2014 to €103.1 million as at 31 December 2015.