17 | earnings per share attributable to equity holders

Average earnings per share in 2015 amounted to € 0.24 (2014: € 0.32). Average diluted earnings per share in 2015 were also € 0.24 (2014: € 0.32).

The calculation of average earnings per share at 31 December is based on net income attributable to equity holders, equalling € 19,845 (2014: € 25,855) and the weighted average number of outstanding shares, equalling 81,060 (2014: 80,756). The weighted average number of shares is calculated as disclosed below:

in thousands of shares

2015

2014

Issued as at 1 January

80,957

80,484

Stock dividend

-

260

Change from settlement of share plan

103

12

Weighted average number of shares during the year

81,060

80,756

At the end of 2015 there was no dilution of shares (2014: 163,090 shares) due to the adjustment of the variable long-term share remuneration, after which settlement will be effected in cash instead of in shares (note 24).

The merger protocol agreed with Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. on 22 December 2015 stipulates that no dividend (or interim dividend) will be declared or distributed, nor any payment in kind. Therefore the Executive Board will not propose to distribute a dividend for 2015.