Cash Flow Statement

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In the reporting period, the cash flow of the Bechtle Group again underwent an extremely positive development.

Significant increase in cash inflow from operating activity

Compared to the prior year, the operating cash inflow increased by 18.9 per cent to 49.9 million euros (prior year 42.0 million euros). Apart from the higher earnings before taxes, especially changes in the net assets provided the basis for this positive development. A cash inflow of 6.9 million euros was generated from the reduction of trade receivables, while the cash outflow from the buildup of inventories was 2.3 million euros lower than in the prior year.

The development of the utilisation of capital for liabilities under net assets moved in the opposite direction. For reasons related to the balance-sheet date, the cash outflow from the reduction of trade liabilities was 7.4 million euros higher than the prior-year value.

The cash outflow from investment activities nearly doubled from 9.5 million euros to 18.1 million euros. In this area, the payments for acquisitions, which increased from 7.7 million euros in the prior year to 9.4 million euros, and the investments in intangible assets and property, plant and equipment, which increased by 3.4 million euros to 13.7 million euros, were especially noteworthy. In the fiscal year 2007, the company had also realised a one-time cash inflow of 4.7 million euros from the sale of property in Switzerland.

The free cash flow went up from 25.8 million euros to 28.3 million euros. The improvement was associated with the positive development of the operating cash flow and the only slightly increased outflow for acquisitions and investments in intangible assets and property, plant and equipment. Moreover, an initial instalment from the sale of TomTech was recorded as an inpayment.

In the reporting period, the negative cash flow from financing activities amounted to 10.1 million euros, compared to 16.1 million euros in the prior year. Especially new short and long-term financial liabilities had an alleviating effect, while the cash outflow for the distribution of dividends and the purchase of treasury shares increased.

As of the end of the reporting period, cash and cash equivalents had increased considerably by 25.0 million euros to 77.3 million euros.

CASH FLOW in million euros

    2004   2005   2006   2007   2008
Cash flow from                    
- Operating activities   46.2   28.1   26.9   42.0   49.9
- Investing activities   - 38.4   - 20.2   - 19.3   - 9.5   - 18.1
- Financing activities   19.8   - 21.2   - 18.3   - 16.1   - 10.1
Cash and cash equivalents   61.5   48.2   36.7   52.3   77.3
Free cash flow   9.9   6.4   5.7   25.8   28.3

The main terms of the financial liabilities are explained on here of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. Due to the secondary importance of the financial earnings for the Bechtle Group, a change in the interest rate would not have any major impact on the financial position.

Off-balance-sheet financing instruments, such as factoring or acceptance of liability toward special-purpose entities not included in the consolidated financial statements were, in principle, not used in the reporting period or in previous fiscal years. The construction of the annexe at the headquarters of Bechtle AG, which is financed via sale and lease back, is the only exception.

Liquidity secures growth

In view of the strong operating business performance, the Executive Board of Bechtle AG does not see any signs of liquidity bottlenecks of the group. There are still sufficient financial resources for further organic growth and acquisitions.