On Group level, order intake went down 16.7% to CHF 2.6 billion. Turnover stood at CHF 2.7 billion (-17.0%). Due to strict cost management and margin protection, EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) amounted to CHF 146 million (previous year: CHF 248 million), reflecting an EBIT margin of 5.4% (previous year: 7.6%).
The 2020 figures are impacted by the development of currency exchange rates, specifically of the Chinese yuan, euro, and US dollar against the Swiss franc. Adjusted for the impact of the foreign exchange rates, the reduction of the top-line versus last year was 13%.
Strategic investments in our infrastructure and R&D (research and development) remained at a high level. The expenses for R&D were slightly adapted to CHF 139 million (previous year: CHF 149 million), leading to an increase relative to Group turnover to 5.2% (previous year: 4.6%). This is in line with Bühler’s strategy to be an innovation leader in its industries. Over the year, we continued to launch new products and solutions, some of them groundbreaking, such as the new integrated grinding system, Arrius. The first two Carat 560 die-casting machines were built in 2020 and shipped to a customer in Vietnam. The new solution was officially launched to the market in a virtual event held in November. For the automotive industry, the Leybold Optics HIS was introduced, which is designed for mass production of the coating of head-up displays in cars, and the ChromeLine for inline sputtering for chrome deposition, which makes the process more environmentally friendly.
Following the vast variety of impacts caused by the pandemic, the businesses and regions showed strong variance in performance. Although the overall investment climate was overshadowed, our Grains & Food (GF) business was robust with a limited decrease in turnover of -7.2% to CHF 1.7 billion, as a result of the ongoing demand for staple foods. In contrast, Consumer Foods (CF) including Chocolate, Wafer, and Biscuits, declined by -25.8% to CHF 574 million. Advanced Materials had to accept an even stronger drop of -31.7% to CHF 443 million, caused by the severe weakness of the global automotive industry.
As a consequence of lower turnover, EBIT went down by 41.3% to CHF 146 million, corresponding to an EBIT margin of 5.4% (previous year: 7.6%). With a tax rate of 24.9% (previous year: 19.5%) and a financial result of CHF 0.3 million (previous year: CHF 2.4 million), net profit was CHF 110 million (previous year: CHF 202 million).
Along with the divergent course of our businesses, there was also a shift in regional development with a further big step towards a leading role of Asia. While all markets suffered from double digit setbacks, Bühler Asia managed to be quite stable driven by the strong growth of our business in China. Order intake in China rose sharply by 15% for the full year. With regard to turnover, Asia now makes up 35% (previous year: 31%), Europe 30% (30%), North America 16% (16%), Middle East & Africa 11% (14%), South America 5% (6%), and South Asia 3% (3%).
Structurally, Bühler was able to slightly improve the breadth of its portfolio in 2020. Turnover of Customer Service (CS) and the Single Machine Business decreased comparatively less, resulting in a rise in share from 30% to 33% of total turnover. The e-commerce platform myBühler made a substantial contribution to the CS business. In 2020, the number of active customers increased from 5,500 to 6,600, the orders through the system from 12,800 to 16,400, and the revenue from CHF 41.5 million to CHF 59 million.