UZWIL, Switzerland – For the Bühler Group, 2017 was a successful year. Bühler organically increased its order intake by 10% to CHF 2.8 billion, its turnover by 9% to CHF 2.7 billion, and its EBIT by 18% to CHF 205 million (EBIT margin: 7.7%). As of year-end, its order backlog amounted to CHF 1.7 billion (+9%). “Our innovation power provides the basis for this positive development of our organization,” said Bühler CEO Stefan Scheiber.
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,” said 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.
Both Bühler businesses contributed to this strong growth. Grains & Food increased its order intake and turnover by 7% to CHF 2.1 billion and CHF 2.0 billion, respectively. Advanced Materials boosted its order intake by 21% to CHF 672 million and its turnover by 19% to CHF 640 million. Growth was also strong in the service business and the business for single machines, which together now account for 32% of total turnover.
Market share gains were achieved in particular by milling, feed, optical sorting, aluminum die casting and optical coatings. In regional terms, order intake growth was especially pronounced in the Middle East & Africa (+48%) and Asia (+18%).
This operating performance further strengthened the already sound financial position of Bühler. Net profit surged by 22% to CHF 174 million, representing a net profit margin of 6.5% (previous year: 5.9%). Significantly higher capital investments of CHF 100 million (+41%) – among other things in the modernization and expansion of the global production network – lay the groundwork for Bühler's future profitable business development. Despite the issue of a corporate bond, the equity ratio remained at a high level of 45% (previous year: 47%), and the return on net operating assets (RONOA) rose to 21% (previous year: 19%). “In order to safeguard our entrepreneurial flexibility and to use the current beneficial conditions in the financial markets, we decided to launch a corporate bond on the capital market,” said CFO Andreas Herzog.
For the current fiscal year, Bühler 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,” said Scheiber.