Cash flows

In CHF million   31.3.2019   31.3.2018   Change
Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)   1,119   1,058   61
Capital expenditure in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets   (518)   (501)   (17)
Lease expense according to IFRS 16   (68)     (68)
Operating free cash flow proxy   533   557   (24)
Change in net working capital   (41)   (215)   174
Change in defined benefit obligations   12   15   (3)
Net interest payments for financial assets and liabilities   (3)   (1)   (2)
Interest payments on finance lease liabilities     (6)   6
Income taxes paid   (242)   (164)   (78)
Other operating cash flow   (15)   2   (17)
Free cash flow   244   188   56
Net expenditures for company acquisitions and disposals   (246)   (3)   (243)
Other cash flows from investing activities, net   14   6   8
Repayment of financial lease liabilities according to IAS 17     (5)   5
Issuance and repayment of financial liabilities, net   (88)   113   (201)
Other cash flows from financing activities   (6)   (6)  
(Net decrease) net increase in cash and cash equivalents   (82)   293   (375)

Operating free cash flow proxy declined by CHF 24 million to CHF 533 million, owing largely to higher capital expenditure. Capital expenditure was up CHF 17 million or 3.4% year-on-year to CHF 518 million, driven primarily by the expansion of broadband networks at Swisscom Switzerland.

Free cash flow was CHF 56 million higher at CHF 244 million on the back of the uptrend in net working capital. This effect was diluted somewhat by the higher level of income taxes paid. The increased income tax payments are attributable to higher advance payments for the current financial year. Net working capital was up CHF 41 million compared to the end of 2018 (prior year: increase of CHF 215 million), mainly as a result of higher accruals for prepaid expenses for the current financial year.

In the first quarter of 2019, Swisscom issued a debenture bond for CHF 200 million. It has a coupon of 0.5% and matures in 2029. Net expenditure for company acquisitions and disposals includes the purchase price of CHF 240 million paid to Tamedia for the acquisition of the outstanding share of 31% in Swisscom Directories Ltd.