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Bühler profits improve as food security demands spark ship unloader orders

Bühler profits improve as food security demands spark ship unloader orders

(Posted on 14/02/24)

Bühler has successfully navigated a complex and volatile global landscape and increased its profitability in 2023. The equity ratio also further improved.

As an innovative solution provider, the company benefited from many opportunities and gained market share from transitions in its key markets. In local currencies, turnover grew strongly, and orders improved slightly. With a high order book of CHF 2.0 billion, Bühler is well positioned for 2024. “We are satisfied with the outcome of 2023 and have proved again that we are a reliable partner in this dynamic world,” says Bühler CEO Stefan Scheiber.

At Group level and in Swiss Francs, Bühler performed well with a slightly increased turnover of CHF 3.0 billion (+1.0%). Order intake was CHF 3.2 billion (-3.8%) and the order book remained high at CHF 2.0 billion. EBIT rose by 8.9% to CHF 216 million with a corresponding EBIT margin of 7.2% (prior year: 6.7%). Net profit increased by 16.3% to CHF 179 million (prior year: CHF 154 million), corresponding with a margin of 5.9% (prior year: 5.2%). The impact of foreign exchange rates was significant. In local currencies, orders improved by 2% to CHF 3.3 billion, turnover by 7% to CHF 3.2 billion, and EBIT by 17% to CHF 233 million.

In a challenging business environment, Grains & Food performed solidly. Turnover fell by 3.1% to CHF 2,204 million, while order intake was down 0.7% to CHF 2,357 million. In local currencies, turnover increased by 2.2% and order intake grew by 4.8%. The global demand to improve food security was a key driver for the Milling Solutions and Grain Quality & Supply business areas. While the challenging economic situation in China worked as a damper in most areas, especially in the Value Nutrition business, Grain Quality & Supply secured several larger orders for ship unloaders as a result of governmental efforts to improve food security.

Milling Solutions, the largest business area of Bühler, benefited from a global catch-up demand for large milling projects for grain processing, including numerous greenfield installations. Projects were awarded to Bühler from all over the world – United States, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia, among others. Turnover growth was remarkable in the Chocolate & Coffee business area, and the Consumer Foods business area continued to recover both in volumes and profitability.

In 2023, the Advanced Materials business continued its success. Whereas turnover grew strongly by 15.9% to CHF 778 million, order intake fell by 11.2% to CHF 774 million, indicating that business volumes were normalizing. In local currencies, turnover increased by 22.9%, while order intake reduced by 5.3%. With these results, the Advanced Materials business confirmed that it is in an upswing mode after a particularly strong order intake in 2022, driven by transformation in its industries. This enabled it to reach a record high turnover in 2023.

Services continued to be a key strategic pillar in 2023, as they are the fastest lever to improve the productivity and consequently also the sustainability of Bühler customers’ operations, by minimizing energy, waste, and water. Bühler’s Customer Service business grew by 1.2% amounting to CHF 966 million, representing a 32% share of Group turnover.

While the economic environment differed strongly across key markets, Bühler’s balanced geographical footprint allowed the company to benefit from market expansions and thus offset lower business volumes in other markets. The most notable developments were strong turnover growth in the Americas and significantly lower turnover volumes in China. Overall, Bühler’s regional share of turnover was as follows: Americas 29%, Europe 28%, Asia 27%, Middle East Africa & India 16%.

In 2023, expenses for R&D remained at a high level at CHF 140 million (4.7% of turnover) and around 50 new customer solutions were launched. “We see profitable growth as a prerequisite for creating positive impact for a better world. This conviction guides our investments in the future development of our company, into innovative products and services, as well as in the development, education, and training of people,” says Stefan Scheiber.

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