Shareholders' equity###Shareholders return graph###
At December 31, 2015, shareholders’ equity was DKK 11,593 million, up 3% from DKK 11,280 million at year-end 2014, as comprehensive income more than offset dividend payments and stock buyback in 2015.
Shareholders’ equity represented 65% of the balance sheet total, up from 61% at year-end 2014.
Return on equity was 24.7%, up 2.1 percentage points from 22.6% in 2014. The increase was a result of higher net profit and only a minor increase in equity.
Dividend###Payout ratio and dividend growth graph###
The Board of Directors proposes that the Annual Shareholders' Meeting approve a dividend of DKK 3.50 per share for the 2015 financial year, an increase of 17% compared with 2014. This will result in an expected total dividend payment of approximately DKK 1,062 million, corresponding to a payout ratio of 37.6%.
At December 31, 2015, the holding of treasury stock was 9.6 million B shares, equivalent to 3.1% of the common stock.
Stock buyback program
In 2015, Novozymes bought back 6.4 million B shares with a transaction value of DKK 2,000 million under the stock buyback program initiated on February 2, 2015, and completed on November 23, 2015. The shares acquired within the program will be used to reduce the common stock and to meet obligations arising from employee share-based incentive programs.