Free cash flow and liquidity
The anticipated development of earnings in the automotive divisions will have a positive impact on the free cash flow of the industrial business also in 2016. With regard to the free cash flow in the year 2015, it is necessary to consider that it was affected by extraordinary contributions to the German and American pension plan assets of €1.2 billion as well as by the acquisition of stakes in the digital mapping business, HERE, and in the US telematics provider, Zonar Systems, in a total amount of €0.7 billion. As we will continue and intensify our investment offensive in products and technologies, the free cash flow of the industrial business adjusted for special items should be significantly lower in 2016 than the comparable amount of €5.9 billion in 2015. We assume, however, that it will be significantly higher than the dividend distribution in the year 2016.
For the year 2016, we aim to have liquidity available in a volume appropriate to the general risk situation in the financial markets and to Daimler’s risk profile. When measuring the level of liquidity, we give due consideration to possible refinancing risks caused for example by temporary distortions in the financial markets. We continue to assume, however, that we will have very good access to the capital markets and bank markets also in the year 2016. We want to cover our funding needs in the planning period primarily by means of bonds, commercial paper, bank loans, customer deposits in the direct banking business and the securitization of receivables in the financial services business; the focus will be on bonds and loans from globally and locally active banks. In view of the very good liquidity situation of the international capital markets and our strong creditworthiness, we expect a continuation of very attractive refinancing conditions in 2016. An additional goal is to continue securing a high degree of financial flexibility.