The sustained business development at Bühler is to be seen against a demanding economic background during 2015: Volatility of currencies, market downturn in South America, milling overcapacities in China, epidemics such as Ebola or political conflicts. Additionally, sharp drops in raw material prices for rice and grain have imposed a brake on investments. As a consequence, Bühler had to accept order cancellations of around 4% of turnover due to unsecure financing on the customer side. The good results are therefore testimony to the sustainability of the Bühler business model, with a comprehensive solution portfolio of process technologies and a global presence in some 140 countries. “With this set up we were able to successfully manage the risks in the different markets and regions”, says Grieder.
Both businesses, Grains & Food as well as Advanced Materials, contributed to the turnover growth. On a regional scale, growth in North America, South East Asia and Middle East & Africa compensated downturns in Europe and South America. Overall, Bühler holds a very balanced position with its global presence: Europe comes to a turnover proportion of 28%, Asia 26%, Middle East & Africa 16%, North America 15%, South America 8% and South Asia 7%.
Profitability clearly improved
With regard to profitability, the financial securing of current orders and projects has proved to be the key to retaining earning power. Additionally, extra working hours of the Swiss employees and the restructuring of European locations, which started in 2014, had a positive effect on corporate profits. The perceptibly improved profitability was also reflected in the RONOA (return on net operating assets), which rose from 18.1% to 22.0%. With an equity ratio of 45.6% (previous year: 45.2%), and a net liquidity of almost CHF 400 million, the financial position of Bühler remains strong. This is also reflected by the fact that Bühler is free from any external financing.
Focus on innovation and sustainability
The foundation of the sustainable business development at Bühler is created by cutting-edge technological process solutions. This is why Bühler again invested substantial amounts, running to CHF 102 million, in research and development (previous year: CHF 99 million), and launched a total of around 45 new products and services (Grains & Food: 30, Advanced Materials: 15).
The family company Bühler is particularly committed to sustainability. The company takes into account ecological, economic and social impacts of its activity, to contribute to the quality of life and the environment. In 2015 Bühler has reviewed and updated its sustainability reporting by aligning it with the newest standards (GRI G4). Among the 37 measured indicators the company achieved significant progress in its ecological sustainability: while in 2013 five production sites reported their ecological footprint, today 17 do so. Furthermore, the energy consumption per hour of activity decreased over all sites by 8.2% from 2014, and the water consumption by 9.5%.
Holding firmly to the course of growth
Bühler is well positioned in global growth markets - the processing of basic foods and animal feeds as well as advanced materials. Current megatrends such as growing world population, increasing urbanization and rising environmental awareness, all go to support the strategically excellent positioning of the Group.
For 2016 the company is expecting an ongoing challenging global economic and political framework. Nevertheless, Bühler aims to continue its growth above the market average in a corridor of 4-5% with profitability in the range of 8-10%. To achieve this aim, the Group will continue to optimize its operational excellence and costs base, investing in leading technologies and process solutions as well as expanding and extending its regional presence still further.
Overview of Key Figures:
In CHF million
Change in %
Order backlog 31.12.
Employees as of 31.12.
(excl. temporary staff and apprentices)
Note: You can find our online annual report here.
Burkhard Böndel, Head of Corporate Communications, Bühler AG, 9240 Uzwil, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 71 955 33 99; Mobile: +41 79 515 91 57