The Bühler Group continued its positive development in 2018, with all businesses achieving organic growth.
Haas was successfully integrated into the Bühler Group in 2018 and contributed to Bühler’s success.
Group turnover increased by 22% to CHF3.3bn.
The Bühler Group has further strengthened its strategic position by establishing a third business pillar, Consumer Foods.
Its new, most advanced factory in Changzhou, China, is fully operational and construction of its CUBIC innovation campus in Uzwil, Switzerland is nearing completion.
To drive digitalisation, the company entered a partnership with Microsoft.
“We are satisfied with the 2018 overall results. Volumes developed well but profits were below our objectives. Despite risks such as trade conflicts, we are well positioned with our portfolio and our global organisation and look to the future with confidence,” said Bühler CEO Stefan Scheiber.
The 2018 business year was characterised by continued organic growth in all businesses with a gain in market share, increased order intake and higher turnover.
Turnover grew for Grains & Food by 9.2% to CHF2.2bn, for Advanced Materials by 5.6% to CHF705M and Haas contributed CHF373M.
As a result of the Group’s combined organic and acquisitional growth, Bühler increased its order intake by 17% to CHF3.3bn and its turnover by 22% to CHF3.3bn, which resulted in an order backlog of CHF1.9bn (+5.9%).
Regionally, Europe (+28%) and Asia (+40%) were the markets showing the strongest turnover growth.
New strategic pillar Consumer Foods
Following the successful integration of Haas in 2018, Bühler decided to strengthen its leading position in the consumer foods market with the creation of a new strategic pillar beginning in 2019.
With the new Consumer Foods business, the Bühler Group will increase its focus on this important global growth market.
Strengthening global setup
Investments in the asset base rose to CHF118M (+18%), driven by spending on the new CUBIC innovation campus and application centres, the ongoing modernisation of the Swiss locations, and the ramp-up of sites in China.
The new factory and R&D facility for the feed industry in Changzhou, China was opened in 2018 and is in full operation.
Bühler also expanded its global production network with the opening of a new battery application lab in Wuxi, China; the move of Bühler’s Die Casting revision business to a new site in Brescia, Italy and the modernisation and expansion of the Uzwil site.
The CUBIC innovation campus in Uzwil is nearing completion. The official inauguration of the fully operational campus is scheduled for spring.
The CUBIC combines research and development with seven renewed application centres, which will be available to customers for conducting tests and trial series together with Bühler.
The considerable investment of about CHF50M over a period of three years underscores Bühler’s commitment to innovation, technology and the workplace Switzerland.
Harnessing the power of digital
Spending on research and development amounted to CHF145M (4.4% of turnover).
The Group introduced more than 20 digital products, achieved sizable initial turnover and entered a partnership with Microsoft in April 2018.
Currently, customers can choose from a digital portfolio of more than 30 digital services. A further 30 will be launched during 2019.
In September, another milestone was reached with the launch of the Bühler Insights digital platform – a secure, high-performance and reliable platform for all its digital services.
These initiatives create new potential for improving safety, quality, efficiency and traceability across production value chains.
Today, more than 85 % of its solutions can be connected to the platform.
It offers numerous interfaces with standard industry automation and control systems, thus enabling the connection of a wide range of technologies.
The Group is aware of the accelerated changes in the digital age and is keeping a watchful eye on the current global developments that bring about a degree of uncertainty – including the geopolitical situation, currencies, interest rates, or trends counteracting free trade.
New business opportunities arise time and again, for example in emerging African markets, in South America, or in connection with China’s new Silk Road.
The combined Consumer Foods business is also expected to address new market potential.
Bühler is convinced that its opportunities outweigh the risks.