Depreciation, amortization and impairments totaled EUR 321.9 million in 2015. This was EUR 293.1 million excluding the Fugro impairment charge (2014: EUR 293.5 million). Our share in the net result from joint ventures and associates was EUR 43.3 million (2014: EUR 56.4 million). This result relates mainly to our share in the results of Smit Lamnalco, VBMS, the Singapore partnerships with Keppel (Keppel Smit Towage, Maju Maritime and Asian Lift), Saam Smit Towage and Fugro.
The tax charge declined in 2015 to EUR 87.5 million (2014: EUR 124.2 million). The tax rate, excluding the net result from joint ventures and associates and corrected for the revaluation and impairment on the Fugro stake, amounted to 18.1% compared to the relatively high level of 21.4% in 2014, with the decline mainly due to a larger share of the project results being achieved in countries with relatively low tax rates or being exempted from tax.
Capital expenditure balance sheet
In 2015 a total amount of EUR 230.4 million was invested in property, plant and equipment (2014: EUR 313.0 million). In addition to the customary periodic dry dockings there were several investments worth mentioning at the divisions. At Dredging work continued apace on the construction of a new mega cutter and a new jumbo backhoe dredger. Investments within the Offshore Energy segment included the construction of two new Giant oceangoing barges, one of which is being converted into a crane vessel with accommodation. The White Marlin, which was completed in 2014, was delivered and taken into service in early 2015.
In 2015 divestments were made totaling EUR 26.7 million. Assets sold by Boskalis in the second half of the year included six former SMIT B-class work vessels.
Capital expenditure commitments at end-2015 were down at EUR 108 million (end-2014: EUR 125 million). These commitments relate mainly to the aforementioned investments, particularly the mega cutter and the jumbo backhoe dredger.
In 2015 Boskalis paid out a cash sum of EUR 47.6 million in dividends for the 2014 financial year (2014: EUR 37.1 million) to those shareholders who opted to receive a cash dividend. This represented around 24% of the dividend, with the remaining 76% of the dividend being distributed in shares to shareholders who chose this option. To this end Boskalis issued 2,689,242 new ordinary shares and used 629,123 shares purchased under the share buy-back program. As a consequence the total number of outstanding ordinary Boskalis shares equaled 125,627,062 at end-2015.
Since the end of 2014 Boskalis has increased its stake in Fugro N.V. by 8.7% to 28.6% through the purchase of (certificates of) shares. In accordance with IFRS this stake is recognized as an ‘associate’. The book value of the stake in Fugro at 31 December 2015 was EUR 390.4 million (EUR 16.15 per Fugro share).
The cash flow amounted to EUR 765.4 million (2014: EUR 785.7 million). The cash position at end-2015 was EUR 766.7 million (end-2014: EUR 395.4 million). The solvency ratio rose to 56.3% (end-2014: 53.4%).
The interest-bearing debt totaled EUR 937.9 million at year-end, of which EUR 5.5 million is recognized as Assets Held For Sale. The net debt position stood at EUR 171 million. At the end of 2014 the gross debt position was EUR 914.2 million and the net debt position was EUR 519 million.
The largest component of the interest-bearing gross debt position relates to the long-term US Private Placements (USPPs) and drawings under the syndicated credit facility. This syndicated facility consists of a USD 600 million revolving multi-currency credit facility maturing in 2020, with an option to extend the term to 2021. In addition, Boskalis has EUR 712 million in outstanding USPPs (unchanged), of which EUR 299 million (USD 325 million) has not been swapped into euros. The remaining term on the USPPs ranges from just over one to seven years (2017 to 2023).
Boskalis must comply with a number of covenants as agreed with the syndicate of banks and the USPP investors. These covenants were comfortably met as at end-2015. The main covenants relate to the net debt : EBITDA ratio, with a limit of 3, and the EBITDA : net interest ratio, with a minimum of 4. At 31 December 2015 the net debt : EBITDA ratio stood at 0.4 and the EBITDA : net interest ratio at 27.