Capital expenditure investment for the year amounted to R652 million (2014: R486 million) and included R170 million in capital commitments carried forward from the previous financial year.

Capital expenditure (R’m) 2015 2014
Expansion 186 270
Replacement 466 216
Total 652 486

Significant projects undertaken during the year included the Epping bakery and the completion of the Malmesbury mill upgrades. The balance of the capital expenditure included general asset care including a R218 million investment in the bakery fleet. Proceeds on the sale of property, plant and equipment of R176 million (2014: R56 million) included the disposal proceeds in respect of the old bakery fleet and the biscuit and Pepsi lines. The Board committed to the expansions of the Aeroton bakery in Gauteng and the Atlantis Weet-Bix plant. These are the major components of the R492 million in capital commitments carried forward to the 2016 financial year.

Return on average net assets (%) 2015 2014
Essential Foods 36% 30%
Groceries and International 24% 20%
Continuing operations 32% 26%

The strong financial performance, and the astute capital expenditure investment, translated into a marked improvement in the return on net assets at a Group and segmental level.

Debt and financing facilities

Debt and financing facilities – continuing operations (R’m) 2015 2014 % change
Third-party debt relating to the 2012 Phase II B-BBEE transaction partners 502 501
Own debt 1 352 1 273 6
Total debt 1 854 1 774 5
Less: Cash 1 449 1 108 31
Net debt 405 666 (39)
Net debt excluding third-party debt (97) 165 (159)
Net debt to equity ratio (%) excluding third-party debt (1%) 3%
EBITDA* 2 488 2 006 24
Net debt-to-EBITDA ratio (%) excluding third-party debt (4%) 8%
* Before items of a capital nature and adjusted for the impact of the Phase I B-BBEE transaction.

Net interest-bearing debt, excluding third-party debt related to the Phase II B-BBEE transaction partners, decreased by R262 million to a net positive position of R97 million or a net debt to equity ratio of -1% (2014: 3%). The Group’s net debt to EBITDA ratio, on an adjusted basis, is -4% (2014: 8%).

The Group’s total syndicated debt facilities amounts to R3.5 billion, which is secured with five financial institutions. The Group is satisfied that the healthy cash generated from normal operating activities will continue and along with the above facilities, will meet working capital requirements and the expansion plans of the foreseeable future.