With this ad hoc disclosure, we are also informing the public about the key points of the new programme to reduce costs and increase efficiency: besides the reduction in expenses and efficiency improvements, the measures under this programme also include a further reduction of approx. 175 jobs by 2020. In this way, we will essentially maintain the 2015 cost level until 2019 regarding personnel- and other operating expenses. Thereby, future cost increases can be absorbed. In addition, capital expenditure for growth and maintenance for the 2016–2019 period will be reduced from €1.5bn to €1.0bn. In this way, VERBUND is focusing on improving free cash flow significantly and further reducing debt.
In connection with this, the previous long-term dividend policy will be amended. Around 30% of the Group result after adjustment for non-recurring effects will be paid out for financial year 2016. The payout ratio for financial year 2017 is expected to be announced in March 2017 during publication of the figures for financial year 2016.
Additional details will be provided during the publication of the 2016 half-year results on 28 July 2016.