Business and financial review
Strong financial base
Free cashflow during the year under review was again substantial and continued to bolster the Geberit Group's very healthy financial foundation.
Total assets fell slightly from CHF 2,171.2 million to CHF 2,122.7 million. The strong Swiss Franc had a damping effect on most balance sheet items.
Cash reserves decreased, which can be attributed in part to the fact that bonds were acquired in considerable volume as liquidity reserves in 2011. Furthermore, own shares were repurchased. In addition to liquid funds and marketable securities of CHF 542.0 million (prior year CHF 586.6 million), the Group had access to undrawn operating credit facilities of CHF 195.7 million. Debt remained practically unchanged at CHF 75.6 million (prior year CHF 73.4 million). At the end of 2011, this resulted in a positive net cash level in terms of net debt of CHF -466.4 million (prior year CHF -513.2 million).
Net working capital grew by CHF 5.6 million to CHF 114.1 million. Property, plant and equipment increased slightly from CHF 514.3 million to CHF 516.2 million; goodwill and intangible assets decreased from CHF 658.8 million to CHF 645.2 million.
As a result of the net cash level cited above, gearing (net debt/equity) was essentially unchanged at -32.9% (prior year -33.7%). The equity ratio fell slightly but still reached a very solid 66.9% (prior year 70.0%). In terms of average equity, the return on equity (ROE) for the year under review was 26.0% (prior year 27.0%). Average invested operating capital, comprising net working capital, property, plant and equipment as well as goodwill and intangible assets, amounted to CHF 1,327.6 million at the end of 2011 (prior year CHF 1,450.5 million). The return on invested operating capital (ROIC) amounted to 28.8% (prior year 28.7%). For details on the calculation of gearing, ROE and ROIC, see → Financial Statements of the Geberit Group, Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, 5. Capital Management.
As of December 31, 2011, the Geberit Group held 1,300,551 own shares in treasury, which corresponded to 3.3% of the shares entered in the Commercial Register. Of these, 1,026,000 shares (2.6% of the shares entered in the Commercial Register) were obtained from the share buyback program started at the beginning of 2011. On July 6, 2011, as a result of a resolution of the General Meeting of April 19, 2011, capital in the amount of 1,391,000 shares (3.4% of the shares entered in the Commercial Register) from the 2006 share buyback program was retired. The remaining treasury shares numbering approximately 275,000 are mainly earmarked for share participation plans.