UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Net profit at the Bühler Technology Group totaled 161 million Swiss francs ($177.8 million) in 2012, flat compared with results in 2011.
The company said it increased its order intake by 5% to 2.345 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion) and its sales increased by 13% to 2.409 billion Swiss francs ($2.66 billion). The company noted that acquisitions accounted for the rise in order intake.
As a result of substantial investments, the EBIT margin declined to 7.3% from the previous year.
For the current fiscal year, Bühler said it expects sales revenues at the same level as 2012 and a return to a double-digit EBIT margin.
Of the three divisions, Grain Processing as well as Food Processing booked somewhat higher orders, whereas the orders received by the Advanced Materials division were consolidated at the record level of the previous years, Bühler said.
Geographically speaking, developments varied widely. With 12% less orders received, Europe was especially disappointing, Bühler said. On the other hand, North America grew sharply at 44%. The company also reported an increase of 13% and 7% in China and the Middle East/Africa, respectively.
In all, the orders received from emerging countries for the first time exceeded 50% of the group’s total volume.
Sales rose by 13% to 2.4 billion Swiss francs. Adjusted for acquisitions, it exceeded the value of the previous year by 5%. The sharpest rise in sales was achieved by the Advanced Materials division (47%) and was mainly driven by acquisitions. Grain Processing boosted its sales on a purely organic basis by 7%, whereas the revenue of Food Processing was 3% below the value of a year ago.
Bühler invested heavily in markets, its global service network, innovations, and new fields of application. Research and development spending rose substantially and for the first time exceeded 100 million Swiss francs or more than four percentage points of sales.
Bühler expects the investments in the future mentioned above to pay off in the coming years in the form of double-digit margins.The group-wide payroll at the end of 2012 for the first time rose above the mark of 10,000 employees (previous year: 8,830). The sharp increase primarily was due to the strengthening of the customer service organization especially in Asia, as well as to new acquisitions, Bühler said.