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Cash flows

In CHF million   2018   2017   Change
Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)   4,213   4,295   (82)
Capital expenditure in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets   (2,404)   (2,378)   (26)
Change in defined benefit obligations   64   36   28
Change in net working capital and other cash flows from operating activities   (127)   214   (341)
Dividends paid to non-controlling interests   (1)   (8)   7
Operating free cash flow   1,745   2,159   (414)
Net interest paid   (133)   (155)   22
Income taxes paid   (294)   (289)   (5)
Free cash flow   1,318   1,715   (397)
Net expenditures for company acquisitions and disposals   (113)   (106)   (7)
Other cash flows from investing activities, net   19   120   (101)
Issuance of financial liabilities   1,451   757   694
Repayment of financial liabilities   (1,571)   (1,158)   (413)
Dividends paid to equity holders of Swisscom Ltd   (1,140)   (1,140)  
Other cash flows   (9)   (9)  
(Net decrease) net increase in cash and cash equivalents   (45)   179   (224)

Free cash flow declined year-on-year by CHF 397 million to CHF 1,318 million, mainly due to lower operating free cash flow. Operating free cash flow decreased by CHF 414 million to CHF 1,745 million, due chiefly to the movement in net working capital. The positive movement in the previous year resulted primarily from an increase in trade payables. In 2018, the balances of liabilities moved in the opposite direction, and this had a negative impact on the change in net working capital. Also, in the previous year, provisions were recognised that were used in 2018, resulting in a cash outflow.

Net expenditure for company acquisitions and disposals amounted to CHF 113 million (prior year: CHF 106 million). This chiefly includes payments for the acquisition of the Fixed Wireless division and mobile radio frequencies of Tiscali by Fastweb and investments in equity-accounted investee Flash Fiber in connection with the network expansion in Italy (prior year: purchase of a Tiscali business division by Fastweb and acquisition of the remaining shares of Cinetrade). In 2018, Swisscom took up debenture bonds in the amounts of CHF 300 million and EUR 500 million. In addition, short-term bank loans were taken up in order to repay a 3.25% debenture bond for CHF 1,385 million upon maturity.

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