Bühler, Uzwil, Switzerland, showed a healthy performance in 2016. While continuing its policy of reinvesting profits to secure future development, the company has continued its growth path. Order intake in 2016 was up 3% to CHF2.54 bn, compared to a decline of 4% in 2015. Turnover rose by 2% to CHF2.45 bn, and profitability remained stable at 7.1% (EBIT margin). R&D investments were significantly increased. “For a company based in Switzerland, 2016 marked a real proof point considering the Euro/Swiss franc shift a year ago,” says CEO Stefan Scheiber. “In this context, we can be satisfied with these results.”
Both businesses of Bühler, Grains & Food and Advanced Materials, contributed to the success of the Group in 2016. The strategy of two businesses that are both based on leading process technologies and services, has proven successful. The Group’s performance was strongly supported by its customer service business. Customers appreciate the local network of 92 service stations worldwide. Consequently, the service business showed higher growth and recorded a turnover of CHF 578 million, which is 7% higher than last year. The service share of turnover now accounts for 24% (previous year: 22%). On a regional level, growth in North and South America, Europe, and China overcompensated the downturns in the Middle East & Africa and South East Asia. Overall, Bühler holds a very balanced position with its global presence: Europe reported a turnover share of 30%, Asia 25%, Middle East & Africa 15%, North America 17%, South America 6%, and South Asia 6%.
In line with its strategy of operating “in the region for the region”, Bühler also invested substantial sums in 2016 to enter new markets, develop decentralized applications centers, and further expand and update its global manufacturing network. Eight new service stations were added to the global network for a total of 92 locations with 60 workshops. This move further increases Bühler’s proximity to customers. In Vietnam, a new factory for rice equipment was opened. New regional applications centers were established, for example, in North America, and the buildup of a new production site in China is ongoing.
Regardless of day-to-day variations, Bühler is excellently positioned in global growth markets – the processing of basic foods & feeds and advanced materials. With a global setup, Bühler has achieved real customer proximity and truly lives up to the motto of being “locally relevant and globally leveraged”. Today’s megatrends such as the growing global population, increasing urbanization, or enhanced environmental awareness further benefit the strategic setup of the Group and unlock additional growth potential.
“With the accomplishments of 2016, and a strong order backlog, Bühler has a positive outlook for 2017,” says Scheiber. The dynamic nature of market and technology trends, regional developments, and political conditions make predicting potential business outcomes increasingly challenging. Bühler has adjusted to new developments with flexibility, a collaborative innovation model, and strong partnerships with customers, the science community, and technology and industry. Based on its leading technologies and solutions, Bühler aims to further increase its growth rate and profitability in 2017.