Annual Report 2020

Business Review

Reasonable performance under adverse conditions


Annual Report 2020

Business Review

Reasonable performance under adverse conditions




Corresponding to the diverse course of the pandemic, Bühler’s business development showed strong variation in the markets and regions. As a Group, we gained financial strength while limiting impact to our performance. We kept profitability at a reasonable level and increased our innovation rate. We look into the future with optimism. We expect a stable trend in the short- and midterm and are laying the ground for future growth.  

2020 performance overview

in billion CHF
in million CHF
Net profit
in million CHF

General overview

Bounded optimism

Bühler has proven its reliability and robustness in a turbulent year. CEO Stefan Scheiber and CFO Mark Macus explain how Bühler’s global set-up, innovation power, and strategy of bounded optimism helped set the course to achieve the results. We start 2021 with the conviction that this company robustly managed one of the largest crises since in recent history.



Strengthening our purpose

In 2020, we completed our Destination25 strategy as our previous framework Bühler2020 came to its end. Taking the impacts of the pandemic into account, we took the chance to not only define our way forward in terms of markets, regions, and technologies, but also regarding our purpose. We felt that under these circumstances, we had to sharpen our “reason why”.

Turnover by business

Grains & Food
in billion CHF
Consumer Foods
in milllion CHF
Advanced Materials
in million CHF

Annual results by business

Considering the pandemic, Grains & Food (GF) proved its resilience and agility with important product launches and winning large projects. One business unit shined with its best result ever. Order intake went down -13.9% to CHF 1.6 billion, and turnover decreased by -7.2% to CHF 1.7 billion.

The Bühler Consumer Foods (CF) business was hit hard by the pandemic as important points of sales for our customers such as duty-free shops at airports, restaurants, and hotels broke down to a large extend. Order intake went down -29.2% to CHF 549 million, turnover decreased -25.8% to CHF 574 million.

Advanced Materials (AM) realized turnover of CHF 443 million, which compared to 2019 is a reduction of 31.7%. Order intake decreased by 7.2% to CHF 453 million. Although a further slowdown was anticipated, the decline was further accelerated as a result of the worldwide pandemic.

There for our customers with services and supplies

Securing the supply and service chain

Holger Feldhege, COO, explains how his teams secured the supply and service chains to maintain delivery schedules for our customers. By taking swift actions early in 2020, availability of supplies and spare parts was ensured. The teams managed to find solutions by leveraging the global production network.

SAS strongly contributes to the Group

Samuel Schär, Chief Services and Sales Officer for Bühler Group, explains how the Services & Sales organization ensured the seamless operation of our customers’ assets throughout the challenges of the pandemic thanks to our local set-up, supported by a global service organization.

Outlook: bounded optimism

Still being in the midst of the pandemic, we do not expect a fast recovery of markets and a quick return to normal. In fact, we see a “new normal” arising with far more digital applications, virtual communication, and remote solutions. In our view, the pandemic not only sped up digitalization but also the trends towards a bipolar world with the two centers of power being China and the United States.  

The new Asian agreement Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which reflects a third of global trade is a strong step into this direction. Other important trends which affect our business is the increasing demand of sustainable solutions, be it by CO2 reduced emissions, nutritious and healthy food, or clean mobility.

We are convinced that Bühler is very well positioned even in this volatile market environment. To gain even more flexibility and agility, we are continuing to work on our business excellence, among others by starting the migration of our ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems onto SAP S/4HANA within the next years. For 2021, we expect our business volume and profitability to stay stable. We are now laying ground to return to profitable growth. 


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