Bühler’s 2019 net sales flat, operating margin up 0.5%

Company increases investment into innovation to a record high

Bühler saw flat net sales of CHF3.3 billion (US$3.4 billion) in 2019, with an operating margin of 7.6%, up 0.5% from the previous year.

The company increased its investments into innovation to a record high, and its financial position remained strong, improving equity ratio.

“We are pleased with the 2019 achievements as they confirm our strategic setup with the three businesses, which leveled out market volatility,” said CEO Stefan Scheiber. “With our broad portfolio, global position and innovation strength, we are ready to tackle the challenges of an ongoing volatile global economy.”

The business development in the segments varied widely due to high volatility in some of Bühler’s key markets. While the food and feed markets showed continued demand – specifically, plant-based proteins for meat alternatives and malting experienced strong upswings – the automotive, consumer electronics, and architectural glass industries underwent downward trends.

As a result, order intake for Grains & Food continued to grow at CHF1.8 billion (+5.2 %), for Consumer Foods it declined slightly to CHF775 million (-1.7 %), and Advanced Materials had to absorb a decline of 32.2 % in order intake to CHF488 million. Regarding turnover, Grains & Food demonstrated robustness at CHF1.8 billion (+0.9 %) and Consumer Foods was able to grow its turnover by 2.5% to CHF774 million. At CHF649 million, the turnover of Advanced Materials dropped by 8.0 %.

Bühler maintained a strong financial position in 2019. Net liquidity remained high at CHF449 million (+0.3 %), and the equity ratio grew to 42.8% (previous year: 42.2 %). Return on net operating assets remained on par with the previous year at 14%.