At 2.0 billion euros, the adjusted EBIT of the Lufthansa Group was in line with the forecast despite considerable charges. The main drivers for the decline were a 600 million euro increase in fuel costs and a noticeable economic slowdown, especially in the Group's home markets. Earnings development was also impacted by high price pressure in the European market due to overcapacity and the weakening of the global airfreight market. Lufthansa Group revenue in 2019 rose by 2.5 per cent to 36.4 billion euros (previous year: 35.5 billion euros). The adjusted EBIT margin was 5.6 per cent (previous year: 8.0 per cent). Consolidated net profit fell by 44 per cent to 1.2 billion euros (previous year: 2.2 billion euros).
Unit revenues of the passenger airlines in the Group fell by 2.5 per cent in 2019, adjusted for exchange rate effects, in particular due to the overcapacity in the Lufthansa Group's home markets. At the same time, unit costs adjusted for fuel and currency effects were reduced by 1.5 per cent in 2019, the fourth year in succession.
In 2019, the Lufthansa Group invested 3.6 billion euros (previous year: 3.8 billion euros), a large part of which in new aircraft. Adjusted free cash flow fell to 203 million euros (previous year: 288 million euros) due to lower profits and higher tax payments. Return on capital employed (adjusted ROCE) after taxes decreased to 6.6 percent (prior year: 10.8 percent).
At year-end, interest-bearing net liabilities amounted to 4.3 billion euros. Including lease liabilities of 2.4 billion euros recognized for the first time as a result of the application of IFRS 16, net debt thus amounted to around 6.7 billion euros (prior year: 3.5 billion euros). Pension liabilities rose by 14 percent to 6.7 billion euros (previous year: 5.9 billion euros), mainly due to the lower interest rate used to discount pension obligations, which fell to 1.4 percent (previous year: 2.0 percent).
In order to secure its strong financial position, the Lufthansa Group has raised additional funds of around 600 million euros in recent weeks. In actuarial terms, the Group thus has liquidity of around 4.3 billion euros. In addition, there are unused credit lines of around 800 million euros. Further funds are currently being raised. Among other things, the Lufthansa Group will use aircraft financing for this purpose.
Corporate responsibility, that is to say sustainable and responsible entrepreneurial practice, is an integral part of our corporate strategy. It means that we are committed to creating added value for our customers, employees and investors and to meeting our responsibilities toward the environment and society.