At the Group level, order intake rose 8.7% to CHF 3.3 billion and order backlog was robust at CHF 2.1 billion. Turnover increased by 10.3% to CHF 3.0 billion. EBIT improved by 36.0% to CHF 199 million, reflecting an EBIT margin of 6.7% (prior year: 5.4%). Net profit went up 35.7% to CHF 154 million (prior year: CHF 113 million). With these results, Bühler has largely managed to reach pre-pandemic business levels.
Advanced Materials as growth driver
The growth in volume came mainly from the Advanced Materials business, where order intake soared by 40.6% to CHF 871 million, nearly doubling its volume within the last two years. Within Advanced Materials, the Die Casting business showed an outstanding performance, growing orders by 60.4%. Turnover in Advanced Materials increased by 31.8% to CHF 671 million. The Consumer Foods business continued its recovery with strong order intake growth of 21.6% to CHF 710 million, and turnover growth of 13.6% to CHF 578 million. The Grains & Food business, Bühler’s largest business, showed solid performance despite being particularly impacted by disrupted supply chains and a slow feed market in China. The segment saw order intake in 2022 of CHF 1,663 million, down 6.5%, while turnover grew by 2.6% to CHF 1,696 million, and with this managed to keep business very stable throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
All regions contributed to Bühler’s turnover growth, with the Americas and Middle East Africa & India standing out. Regional growth rates and turnover shares were as follows: Asia 6% growth to 32% of the total share of turnover; Europe 3% growth to 30%; North America 17% growth to 17% and South America 26% growth to 5%; Middle East Africa & India 24% growth to 16%. With these successes in important markets, Bühler’s global distribution of turnover is very robust and balanced.
Bühler’s Customer Service business (including Single Machines) also grew by 3.4% and added substantially to the 2022 results with turnover amounting to CHF 955 million, representing a 32% share of Group turnover. Bühler offers a holistic service portfolio with seven modules from hardware, components, and spare parts to upgrading, maintenance, software and process optimizations for systems, with the objective of improving the performance of the existing customer asset base in terms of efficiency, safety, and sustainability. Sustainability gained importance in 2022, as services are the fastest lever to reduce energy, waste, and water in existing plants. “We judge the good business performance in 2022 as a confirmation of our strategy to be a provider of sustainable solutions and services, and to be a reliable and innovative partner in creating value for our customers," says CEO Stefan Scheiber.
Strong financial position
In 2022, Bühler’s financial position improved further, with the equity ratio increasing by 2.6pp to 49.8% (prior year: 47.2%). An important milestone was the repayment of the first tranche of the corporate bond of CHF 180 million in December. In 2017, Bühler raised capital on the financial markets for the first time in the form of a CHF 420 million dual tranche bond to invest in its growth and innovation capabilities. The second tranche of the bond of CHF 240 million is due in 2026. “Our ongoing solid financial position enables us to continue investing in new solutions and services and to remain fully independent in the long term,” says CFO Mark Macus.
Innovation and collaboration through partnerships
In 2022, Bühler expanded its innovation and education ecosystem. The Networking Days event in June provided the opportunity to bring together 1,000 industry leaders who engaged with each other on how to improve energy and food security, reduce waste, cut water usage, lower CO2e emissions, improve biodiversity, and rethink mobility. Bühler announced several joint ventures and partnerships that will facilitate the transition towards more efficient food and feed production and accelerate the shift towards sustainable mobility during this key event.
2022 also marked an important milestone for Bühler in terms of sustainability as it announced the next level of targets with more tangible goals and action plans. Bühler has developed a pathway to achieve a 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 20301 and has committed to having solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in the value chains of its customers.
To keep the pace of innovation high, expenses for research and development (R&D) remained stable at CHF 141 million representing 4.7% of Group turnover in line with the Bühler strategy to be the technology leader of the selected industry segments. Continuing its innovation promise to sustainably transform value chains, Bühler launched some 40 new products, including six new core products, in 2022.
Investing in people
It is thanks to the efforts and dedication of our employees that Bühler was able to achieve these good results despite the many challenges faced by the markets. All our employees around the world showed great commitment and resilience. A special mention should be made to our colleagues in Bühler China. Though they faced strict zero-Covid restrictions, regional lockdowns, and energy disruptions, they kept production facilities running.