The Group has confirmed the medium-term projections of earnings and capital expenditure (capex) announced along with Strategy 2025 in October. The guidance for 2022 calls for an increase in Group EBIT to at least EUR 5.3 billion. Capex for the period from 2020 to 2022 is expected to total cumulative EUR 8.5 to 9.5 billion. The Group increased its cash flow forecast: For the period from 2020 to 2022, the Group is projecting cumulative free cash flow of EUR 5.0 to 6.0 billion (previously: EUR 4.5 to 5.5 billion). To achieve these targets, the Group plans to push growth in its profitable core businesses and to accelerate the digital transformation in all divisions as stated in its Strategy 2025.
Dividend: Increase to EUR 1.25 per share proposed
The encouraging increase in revenue and earnings in the past financial year is reflected in higher net profit for the year. Consolidated net profit for the period after non-controlling interests was EUR 2.6 billion (2018: EUR 2.1 billion). Basic earnings per share registered a corresponding increase from EUR 1.69 in 2018 to EUR 2.13 in 2019. The fact that the rise in net profit did not match the increase in EBIT was due primarily to a higher tax rate of 20.1% for 2019 after a rate of 14.0% for 2018 (due to special factors). The tax rate for 2019 was within the projected range of 19% to 22%.