09 Feb 2018 --- 2017 was a successful year for the Bühler Group, the company organically increased its order intake by 10 percent to CHF2.8 billion (US$2.9 billion), its turnover by 9 percent to CHF2.7 billion (US$2.8 billion), and its EBIT by 18 percent to CHF 205 million (US$218.5 million) (EBIT margin: 7.7 percent). As of year-end, its order backlog amounted to CHF 1.7 billion (US$1.7 billion) (+9 percent).
“Our innovation power provides the basis for this positive development of our organization,” Bühler CEO Stefan Scheiber says at the time of the announcement. “These results mirror Bühler’s positioning as a provider of integrated process solutions for sustainable mobility and healthy food.”
“In 2017, this clear focus has enabled us to continue to expand our technology and market positions and to further increase our competitiveness,” continues Scheiber. “The same also applies for the acquisition of the Austrian Haas Group, which now allows Bühler to also occupy a leading position in the consumer foods market.”
“We have increased our dynamism perceptibly and face the new fiscal year with confidence, not least thanks to our high order backlog,” Scheiber adds.
In a statement sent to FoodIngredientsFirst, a spokesperson said: “Market share gains were achieved in particular in the sectors of milling, feed, optical sorting, aluminum die casting and optical coatings.”
“The machinery and solutions of Bühler and Haas supplement each other excellently. This step opens up great perspectives for the future, as we can offer customers integrated, sustainable, single-source solutions along the entire value chain.”
“We continue to invest significantly in research and development. Every year, we invest up to 5 percent of turnover. Our digital solutions will a focus of your efforts, also in 2018.”
Both Bühler businesses contributed to this strong growth. Grains & Food increased its order intake and turnover by 7 percent to CHF2.1 billion and CHF2.0 billion, respectively.
The acquisition of the Austrian Haas Group, announced in 2017, was a highlight in the past fiscal year, according to the company. The machinery and solutions of the two companies supplement each other excellently. This step opens up great perspectives for Bühler and Haas alike. Both organizations together hold a leading position in the consumer foods market and can offer customers integrated, sustainable, single-source solutions along the entire value chain.
Unique innovation model drives growth
The starting point for these sustainable process solutions are the leading technologies that Bühler develops on the basis of a unique collaborative innovation model. In 2017, Bühler once again increased its investments in research and development (R&D) by 10 percent to CHF119 million (about 4.5 percent of total turnover) and launched over 50 innovative technologies and products. One special focus was on the development of new digital services and business models, of which several have now been rolled out.
Expansion and modernization of the global production network
Bühler also further expanded its global production network. The focus here was on the opening of the new factory in Changzhou, China, and the modernization of the Swiss manufacturing sites.
The new factory in Changzhou went into service in September 2017 and serves as a global manufacturing and R&D center for animal feed production systems. The focus here is on process solutions and complete plants for processing livestock feeds, aquafeeds, and pet foods. In terms of manufacturing capacity, Changzhou is one of the three largest production sites that Bühler operates.
Bühler faces the future with confidence. For the current fiscal year, the Group expects to continue its present profitable growth path. “Our market foundations are sound. With our leading technologies and solutions we intend to achieve above-average performance in 2018 as well,” says Scheiber.
By Elizabeth Green