Today, METRO AG's Management Board decided to propose a dividend payment for the financial year 2012 of €1.00 per ordinary share (2011: €1.35) and €1.06 per preference share (2011: €1.485). Despite numerous significant macroeconomic challenges, EBIT before special items amounted to €1,976 million. The non-recurring, extraordinary charges from implementing strategic portfolio and efficiency-enhancing measures totalled €585 million. The dividend proposal confirms METRO GROUP's overall solid development in the financial year 2012: 1.2% sales growth and a €694 million improvement in cash flow from operating and investing activities to €1,714 million.
As explained in the Annual Report 2011, the dividend proposal of the Management Board of METRO AG follows the development of the earnings per share before special items, which amounted to €1.89 for the financial year 2012 (2011: €2.63). Over recent years, the payout ratio has, on average, been around 50% of net profit attributable to shareholders of METRO AG before special items.
At the beginning of 2012, a strategy of focus, financial optimisation and transformation was implemented by the Management Board of METRO AG to sustainably safeguard METRO GROUP's future. This led to special items totalling €585 million last year. The expenses for portfolio optimisation measures, e.g. the sale of Makro UK and Real in Eastern Europe as well as the discontinuation of Media Markt in China, were the most significant. In addition, comprehensive investments into further efficiency enhancement were made. These measures contribute to the company’s positive development in the medium and long term.
These one-off expenses have led to a decline in EBIT including special items to €1,391 million and to €810 million EBT in the financial year 2012. Due to the fact that deferred taxes on current losses have not been capitalised, the income tax expenses were only slightly lower year-on-year. This led to an elevated GROUP tax rate of 87.5%. EBIT before special items was in line with guidance and amounted to €1,976 million.