The global Buhler Technology Group has once again grown markedly in its anniversary year 2010. Order intake increased 21% to CHF 2160 million, sales revenue (turnover) 11% to CHF 1907 million, and operating profits (EBIT) at a higher-than-proportional rate to 10.6% of total sales. The Group owes this success especially to the identification of market trends such as improved food safety and higher energy efficiency. For the current fiscal year 2011, Buhler expects to further increase its turnover.
All three Group divisions contributed to the higher order intake. In sales revenue, both the Advanced Materials division and the Grain Processing division achieved significant growth. On the other hand, the turnover of the Food Processing division slipped slightly due to the delayed market recovery. Overall, sales growth was primarily organically driven.
The Group's global orientation was further strengthened. In geographical terms, Africa, the Americas, and Asia developed very encouragingly. On the other hand, turnover in the mature markets of Europe and in Eastern Europe contracted. Thus, Asia is now Buhler's strongest region in terms of volume, demonstrating the increasing significance of this market. Buhler's regional spread allowed a good balancing of risks.
Identification of attractive market trends
Buhler invested over CHF 80 million in research and development also in 2010. Various strategic initia-tives systematically trace global, sustainable market trends. On the one hand, the development of new mid-market customer segments contributed substantially to the Group's success. On the other hand, the discussion about safe and healthy foods stimulated demand for Buhler technologies.
Investments in global service readiness
One of the areas that developed very encouragingly was the Customer Service business (services, spare parts, expendable materials), whose share of total Group sales has risen steadily over the past years. Buhler customers also benefit from the Group's worldwide sales organization. Buhler further expanded also these capabilities during the past year.
Improvement of productivity was further pushed. The "Total Synchro" production system rolled out three years ago has boosted efficiency. As a result, the structural costs increased at a lower-than-proportional rate relative to sales.
Confident outlook on 2011
The order backlog of CHF 1238 million as of the end of 2010 was almost 30% above the level of a year ago and provides a solid basis for 2011. Turnover is therefore expected to continue to rise also in the current fiscal year. The increasing volatility of the global economy and the intensified competition for natural resources will continue to pose a challenge for Buhler in the coming years while at the same time offering a high potential.