Interpreting the role of accounts payable in cash flow from operations

AB InBev is the world’s largest brewer. An abbreviated version of the operating activities section of the company’s statement of cash flows appears below:

Cash flows from operating activities (million US dollars)






Interest, taxes and noncash items included in profit



Cash flow from operating activities before changes in working capital and use of provisions



Change in working capital



Pension contributions and use of provisions



Interest and taxes (paid)/received



Dividends received



Cash flow from operating activities



Elsewhere in the annual report, management reveals that trade payables increased in 2011 because of higher capital expenditures. Also, these payables have, on average, longer payment terms than payables from previous years.


Explain why the increase in payables and the change in payment terms contributed to the increased in cash flow from operations in 2011. What other factors contributed to the increase?

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