The following image represents graphical data. A link to this data in an accessible tabular format is provided at relevant points thoughout the page.
The Group assesses its financial capacity by reference to cash flow and interest cover. Interest cover is distorted by the pre-tax impact of the exceptional items and net finance cost distortions reflected in the adjusted earnings per share as explained below. The chart shows the cover, adjusting for these items, on the basis of profit before interest payable over interest payable. The interest cover remains strong at 8.1x (2005: 8.8x), with the lower cover reflecting higher interest costs.
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At 31 December 2006, the ratio of floating to fixed rate financial liabilities was 58:42 (2005: 55:45).
As explained in Unallocated costs and results of associates, the Group’s share of the post-tax results of associates, included at the pre-tax level under IFRS, increased by £39 million to £431 million, after exceptional net income of £4 million (2005: £3 million). The exceptional items are shown as memorandum information on the Group Income Statement.
Profit before tax was up £180 million at £2,764 million, principally reflecting the higher profit from operations.