|AMAZON COM INC filed this Form 10-K on 01/30/2013|
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Cash flow information is as follows (in millions):
Our financial focus is on long-term, sustainable growth in free cash flow. Free cash flow, a non-GAAP financial measure, was $395 million for 2012, compared to $2.1 billion and $2.5 billion for 2011 and 2010. See Results of OperationsNon-GAAP Financial Measures below for a reconciliation of free cash flow to cash provided by operating activities. The decrease in free cash flow in 2012 and 2011, compared to the comparable prior year periods, was primarily due to increased capital expenditures partially offset by higher operating cash flows. Operating cash flows and free cash flows can be volatile and are sensitive to many factors, including changes in working capital, the timing and magnitude of capital expenditures, and our net income. Working capital at any specific point in time is subject to many variables, including seasonality, inventory management and category expansion, the timing of cash receipts and payments, vendor payment terms, and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
Our principal sources of liquidity are cash flows generated from operations and our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities balances, which, at fair value, were $11.4 billion, $9.6 billion, and $8.8 billion, at December 31, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Amounts held in foreign currencies were $5.1 billion, $4.1 billion, and $3.4 billion at December 31, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and were primarily Euros, British Pounds, Japanese Yen, and Chinese Yuan.
Cash provided by operating activities was $4.2 billion, $3.9 billion, and $3.5 billion in 2012, 2011, and 2010. Our operating cash flows result primarily from cash received from our consumer, seller, and enterprise customers, advertising agreements, and our co-branded credit card agreements, offset by cash payments we make for products and services, employee compensation (less amounts capitalized related to internal use software that are reflected as cash used in investing activities), payment processing and related transaction costs, operating leases, and interest payments on our long-term obligations. Cash received from our consumer, seller, and enterprise customers, and other activities generally corresponds to our net sales. Because consumers primarily use credit cards to buy from us, our receivables from consumers settle quickly. The increase in operating cash flow in 2012, compared to the comparable prior year period, was primarily due to increases in non-cash expenses partially offset by the decrease in net income; additions to unearned revenue; and changes in working capital; partially offset by increased tax benefits on excess stock-based compensation deductions. The increase in operating cash flow in 2011, compared to the comparable prior year period, was primarily due to additions to unearned revenue; increases in sales of gift certificates to our customers; decreased tax benefits on excess stock-based compensation deductions; and the increase in net income, excluding depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation; partially offset by changes in working capital.
Cash provided by (used in) investing activities corresponds with capital expenditures, including leasehold improvements, internal-use software and website development costs, cash outlays for acquisitions, investments in other companies and intellectual property rights, and purchases, sales, and maturities of marketable securities. Cash used in investing activities was $(3.6) billion, $(1.9) billion, and $(3.4) billion in 2012, 2011, and 2010, with the variability caused primarily by changes in capital expenditures and changes in cash paid for acquisitions, and purchases, maturities, and sales of marketable securities and other investments. Capital expenditures were $3.8 billion, $1.8 billion, and $979 million in 2012, 2011, and 2010, with the increases primarily reflecting the purchase of property in 2012, and additional investments in support of continued business growth due to investments in technology infrastructure, including AWS, and additional capacity to support our fulfillment