26 Notes to the cash flow statements

The cash flow statement provides an explanation of the changes in cash and cash equivalents. It is prepared on the basis of a comparison of the balance sheets at 1 January and 31 December. Changes that do not involve cash flows, such as changes in exchange rates, amortization, depreciation, impairment losses and transfers to other balance sheet items, are eliminated.

Changes in working capital due to the acquisition or disposal of consolidated companies are included under Investing activities.

The Consolidated cash flow statement includes an analysis of all cash flows in total, therefore including both continuing and discontinued operations. For the amounts related to discontinued operations split by activities and a reconciliation of results from continuing operations to total, see Note 3 Change in the scope of the consolidation.

Most of the changes in the cash flow statement can be traced back to the detailed statements of changes for the balance sheet items concerned. For those balance sheet items for which no detailed statement of changes is included, the table below shows the link between the change according to the balance sheet and the change according to the cash flow statement.

Change in operating working capital






Operating working capital





Balance at 1 January





Balance at 31 December





Balance sheet change















- Exchange differences





- Changes in consolidation (including acquisitions and disposals)





- Transfers/non-cash value adjustments





Total change in operating working capital according to the cash flow statement





In 2023, the operating working capital continuing operations was €3,872 million (2022: €2,432 million), which amounts to 31.1% of annualized fourth-quarter net sales (2022: 29.0%).

Acquisition of subsidiaries of €3,691 million consists of the cash related part of the consideration for Firmenich International SA of €3,500 million, Adare Biome of €290 million and acquisition/earn-out related costs of €184 million, offset partly by the cash held by the acquired entities of €285 million. The disposal of subsidiaries, businesses and associates of €3,533 million consists primarily of the cash impact of the divestment of the Engineering Materials business for €3,553 million. See also Note 3 Change in the scope of the consolidation.

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