Gains on sales of fixed assets in 2012 stood at 782 million euros (-5.0% year-on-year) and at 493 million euros in the fourth quarter (-6.9% year-on-year).
OIBDA and OIBDA margin evolution
It is important to mention that OIBDA is affected by a value adjustment (-527 million euros) by the Telefónica Group in relation to Telefónica Ireland. Thus, operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) amounted to 21,231 million euros, with a sequential improvement in underlying OIBDA in all regions. In the fourth quarter, underlying OIBDA was virtually stable in year-on-year terms at 5,862 million euros, confirming, for the third quarter in a row, a sequential quarterly improvement in OIBDA.
OIBDA margin at the end of 2012 stood at 34.0%. The sustained sequential improvement in the underlying OIBDA margin continued in the fourth quarter (37.0%, compared with 35.1% in the third quarter, 34.6% in the second quarter, and 32.8% in the first quarter). Noteworthy, underlying OIBDA margin in the fourth quarter registered positive year-on-year growth (+0.1 percentage points compared with -0.5 percentage points in the third quarter, -1.9 in the second quarter, and -2.8 in the first quarter), reflecting the success of measures implemented to improve the Company's efficiency.By region, Telefónica Latinoamérica continued increasing its contribution to consolidated underlying OIBDA, accounting for 51%. Telefónica Europe accounted for slightly less than 50%, and Telefónica Spain's contribution fell to less than a third of the total (31%). Depreciation and amortisation in 2012 (10,433 million euros) increased 2.8% year-on-year while operating income (OI) totalled 10,798 million euros and particularly improved in the fourth quarter. Profit from associates amounted to -1,275 million euros (-635 million euros in 2011), mainly due to Telco, S.p.A.'s adjustments of the value of its investment in Telecom Italia, as well as to the recovery of all the operating synergies considered at the time of this investment, with both effects totalling -1,355 million euros in 2012. It should be pointed out that these effects were non-cash impacts. Net financial expenses for the full-year 2012 totalled 3,659 million euros, 24.4% more than in 2011. This implies an effective cost of debt of 5.37% over the last 12 months excluding exchange rate differences. Free Cash Flow for full-year 2012 amounted to 6,951 million euros. It is important to highlight that, following the Company's efforts to reduce debt, net financial debt decreased by 5,045 million euros in 2012, finishing the year at 51,259 million euros. Thus, the leverage ratio for the past 12 months (net debt over OIBDA) stood at 2.36 times as of the end of December.