In 2017, we continued to systematically execute the finance strategy that we announced at the Capital Markets Days in February 2015. Part of our finance strategy was to achieve our target financial ratios – relative debt (ratio of net debt to adjusted EBITDA) and equity ratio – along with a liquidity reserve that covers our maturities of the coming 24 months at least. With these clear statements we intend to maintain our rating in a corridor from A- to BBB and safeguard undisputed access to the capital market.
There is a reliable dividend policy for shareholders, which is subject to approval by the relevant bodies and the fulfillment of other legal requirements. We intend to pay a dividend of at least EUR 0.50 per dividend-bearing share for the financial years 2015 to 2018. Relative growth in free cash flow is also to be taken into account when measuring the amount of the dividend for the specified financial years. Thus we offer our shareholders both an attractive return and planning reliability.
Total capital expenditure is also to remain high in the next few years. The scope for investment is to be used to further roll out our broadband infrastructure and to drive forward the transformation of the Company to an IP-based production model. In mobile communications, the infrastructure build-out will focus on the LTE standard, and in the fixed network, on optical fiber and vectoring.
The finance strategy supports the transformation of our Group into the Leading European Telco. In order to generate a sustainable increase in value, we intend to earn our cost of capital in the medium term. We aim to achieve this goal in part by optimizing the utilization of our non-current assets. We also intend to achieve our target of earning our cost of capital through strict cost discipline and improved cross-functional collaboration. A good example of this is the pooling of Telekom Deutschland’s service activities within the Service business unit. The aim is to establish end-to-end customer process responsibility to serve our customers with an even greater service focus. Improvements like this will ensure our viability. We also focus our performance management on unadjusted EBIT. Taking capital expenditure into consideration brings EBIT closer to the ROCE concept and supports our rigorous focus on the efficient allocation of capital at the Deutsche Telekom Group. For more information about the ROCE performance indicator, please refer to the section “Value management and performance management system.”
We will inform you about the further development of our finance strategy for the years following 2018 at our Capital Markets Day, which is planned for the end of May 2018.