a decrease of 14.9 percent from the end of 2006. This outflow of liquidity mostly related to our subsidiary Leighton, which required large amounts of funding for capital expenditure.
Shareholders' equity increased by 17.4 percent (EUR 407.1 million) to EUR 2.75 billion. EUR 215.7 million of the increment was accounted for by profit after taxes and EUR 25.2 million by amounts recognized in equity for currency translation differences, for changes in the fair value of financial instruments as well as for changes in actuarial gains and losses. The EUR 328.8 million shown as other changes not recognized in the Statement of Earnings almost entirely consists of sales of treasury stock. Conversely, dividend payments to HOCHTIEF shareholders and other shareholders decreased shareholders' equity by EUR 162.6 million.
Our already very sound equity ratio (shareholders' equity as a percentage of total assets) further improved compared with the end of 2006 from 28.1 to 28.2 percent.
Non-current liabilities increased by EUR 142.5 million, from EUR 1.08 billion at the end of 2006 to EUR 1.23 billion as of September 30, 2007. Financial liabilities accounted for the major part of this increase, growing by EUR 99.9 million to EUR 872.2 million. This mostly relates to bank loans taken out by the Development division to fund its project-based business.
Current liabilities amounted to EUR 5.77 billion, up 17.1 percent on the EUR 4.93 billion reported at the end of 2006. The EUR 374.1 million rise in financial liabilities to EUR 646 million related almost exclusively to additional amounts owed to banks by Leighton, used as interim funding for its exceptionally high level of capital expenditure. The growth in trade payables from EUR 3.64 billion to EUR 4.03 billion was driven by the expansion of our business in the Asia- Pacific market.
Risks and opportunities reportWe continue to anticipate that the HOCHTIEF Europe division will generate a loss of up to EUR 120 million in fiscal 2007. We assume for the last quarter of 2007 that it will be possible to offset the residual risk of major price increases in raw materials and inputs of goods and services. This reflects progress on more recently secured contracts that are much improved in terms of pricing. HOCHTIEF Europe?s earnings also depend on ongoing negotiations on contract claims. These pose both risks and opportunities, according to the outcome of the negotiations.
In all other respects, the description of the opportunities and risks of likely future developments given in the combined company and Group management report as of December 31, 2006 continues to apply.
Report on forecasts and other statements relating to the company'slikely future development There is at present no indication of any significant change in the earnings forecasts regarding the likely future development of the HOCHTIEF Group published in the combined company and Group management report as of December 31, 2006 and in the half-year report for January to June 2007. Those earnings forecasts therefore continue to apply.
Post balance-sheet eventsHOCHTIEF announced on October 8, 2007 that it was taking over the Vattenfall Group?s energy contracting unit in Germany with immediate effect. Vattenfall Europe Contracting GmbH, Hamburg, will form an important element in augmenting HOCHTIEF?s capabilities in the field of energy contracting and energy management. A total of 240 Vattenfall employees will be joining HOCHTIEF. Both sides have agreed to maintain confidentiality regarding the purchase price.