Exclusive: Bühler Previews CUBIC Innovation Campus

Bühler

The Bühler Group has recently announced its financial results for 2018. The company saw organic growth across all businesses with increases in market share and order intake. Turnover increased by 22% to CHF3.3bn.

“We are satisfied with the 2018 overall results. Volumes developed well, but profits were below our objectives. Despite risks such as trade conflicts, we are well positioned with our portfolio and our global organization, and look to the future with confidence,” says Bühler’s CEO Stefan Schiber (pictured above).

Following the successful integration of Haas in 2018, Bühler decided to strengthen its leading position in the consumer foods market with the creation of a new strategic pillar beginning in 2019. With the new Consumer Foods segment, the Bühler Group will increase its focus on this important global growth market. Consumer Foods stands from January 2019 alongside Grains & Food and Advanced Materials, under the leadership of Germar Wacker, the former CEO of Haas. Fueled by the combined organic and acquisitional growth, Bühler increased its order intake by 17% in 2018 to CHF3.3bn and its turnover by 22% to CHF3.3bn.  Europe (+28%) and Asia (+40%) were the markets that showed the strongest turnover growth.

Asked about Bühler’s future expansion plans and whether the group favors brownfield investments over greenfield, Germar Wacker, CEO Consumer Foods said “both – there are greenfield and brownfield investments, as you see – Haas was brownfield. At the same time, Buhler has also built on locations, with start-ups, building greenfield businesses, so I think Buhler is open to both. […] When it comes to further expansions in terms of speculating about further investments, […] I think we have very good potential on our hands, but if we run across something that might make a very good addition, and in good terms, then, of course, why not?”

In the press release, Bühler also states its EBIT for 2018 increased in absolute terms by 13% to CHF231m, which represents an EBIT margin of 7.1% (7.6% the previous year). Profitability was impacted by the investments made at Bühler’s Changzhou, China site, which is now fully operational. Net profit grew by 9% and reached CHF188m (CHF173m in 2017), while operating cash flow increased by 28% to CHF202m (USD201m). Net liquidity was reported at CHF445m.

Investments in the Bühler’s asset base rose to CHF118m, which constitutes an 18% increase. This was driven mainly by spending in the new CUBIC innovation campus, due to open this spring, as well as ramping-up of sites in China, and ongoing modernization of the Swiss locations. Finally, spending on research and development amounted to CHG145m with 4.4% of turnover.

On top of announcing its financial results for 2018, the Bühler Group conducted a tour of their CUBIC innovation campus which is nearing completion. The official inauguration of the fully operational campus is scheduled for spring. The CUBIC will combine research and development with other renewed application centers, which will be available to customers for conducting tests and trial series together with Bühler.

With a considerable investment of about CHF50mn over a period of three years, the campus will create new opportunities for cooperation both internally and with external partners from industry, science, NGOs, and start-ups to develop innovations.

In related news, Bühler has recently appointed Mark Macus (pictured below) in the position of CFO effective September 1, 2019. Macus will replace Andreas Herzog who has held the CFO position for 17 years.

Mark Macus has a PhD degree from the University of St. Gallen and is a certified auditor. Previously, he headed the corporate controlling unit of Bühler for five years and has been acting the CFO of the Vitra Group in Birsfelden, Switzerland since 2018.

“Mark Macus is the ideal successor for us. He possesses vast experience, knows the challenges of the capital goods industry, and is thoroughly familiar with Bühler. We are glad to have found Mark Macus for this task and look forward to welcoming him back”, says Bühler’s CEO Stefan Scheiber.

Following his retirement, Herzog plans to devote his efforts to supporting Bühler in developing new business models and strengthening its commitment to start-ups.

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