26 Notes to the cash flow statement

The cash flow statement provides an explanation of the changes in cash and cash equivalents. It is prepared on the basis of a comparison of the balance sheets at 1 January and 31 December. Changes that do not involve cash flows, such as changes in exchange rates, amortization, depreciation, impairment losses and transfers to other balance sheet items, are eliminated.

Changes in working capital due to the acquisition or disposal of consolidated companies are included under Investing activities.

Most of the changes in the cash flow statement can be traced back to the detailed statements of changes for the balance sheet items concerned. For those balance sheet items for which no detailed statement of changes is included, the table below shows the link between the change according to the balance sheet and the change according to the cash flow statement:

Change in operating working capital




Operating working capital


Balance at 1 January



Balance at 31 December



Balance sheet change





  • Exchange differences



  • Changes in consolidation (including acquisitions and disposals)



  • Transfers/non-cash value adjustments



Total change in operating working capital according to the cash flow statement



In 2019, the operating working capital was €2,266 million (2018: €2,138 million), which amounts to 26.3% of annualized fourth quarter net sales (2018: 24.2%).

Due to the introduction of IFRS 16, operating lease cash flows amounting to -€53 million that were presented as operating cash flows under IAS 17 are now reported as financing cash flows.