Off-balance-sheet financial instruments and unrecognized assets
In addition to the assets shown in the consolidated balance sheet, DB Group also uses off-balance-sheet financial instruments and assets that cannot be recognized in the balance sheet.
Most of the off-balance-sheet financial instruments are leased or rented items (operating leases) for which a present value is determined (as of December 31, 2017: € 4,934 million; as of December 31, 2016: € 5,002 million). DB Arriva enters into operating lease contracts, in some cases because of regulatory requirements, especially in conjunction with the provision of vehicles. Transactions in connection with new transport contracts were compensated in the year under review by the decline in existing contracts.
In addition, we used factoring to sell smaller volumes of receivables (as of December 31, 2017: € 500 million; as of December 31, 2016: € 446 million).
With regard to the company pension scheme for employees, the obligations under each retirement scheme are, to some extent, covered and netted by plan assets which are capable of being netted. As of December 31, 2017, total obligations amounted to € 10,538 million (as of December 31, 2016: € 10,957 million) and the fair value of plan assets was € 5,298 million (as of December 31, 2016: € 5,023 million). The balancing process leads to a reduction in the balance sheet total. The net obligation recognized on the balance sheet was € 3,940 million (as of December 31, 2016: € 4,522 million). No substantial endowments were made in the year under review that would have had a significant impact on the financial position.