UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Net profit increased by 9% while turnover climbed 22% in fiscal 2018 at the Bühler Group. The strong fiscal performance has the company well positioned for the future with its Consumer Foods business pillar along with a new factory in China and its partnership with Microsoft, Bühler said.

“We are satisfied with the 2018 overall results,” said Stefan Scheiber, chief executie officer of Bühler. “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.”

The 2018 business year included continued organic growth in all businesses with a gain in market share, increased order intake, and higher turnover, Bühler said.

EBIT increased in absolute terms by 13% to 231 million Swiss francs ($230 million), which represents an EBIT margin of 7.1%. EBIT margin in fiscal 2017 was 7.6%.

Net profit totaled 188 million Swiss francs, up 9% from 173 million Swiss francs a year ago.

Results were impacted by adjustments at the Changzhou, China, site. Without that one-time effect, the EBIT margin would have been 8%, Bühler said.

Turnover in the Grains & Food division increased 9% to 2.2 billion Swiss francs and rose nearly 6% in Advanced Materials division to 705 million Swiss francs.

With its new Consumer Foods business following the integration of Haas, Bühler plans to increase its focus on this market. This was met with “positive momentum” among employees and customers, Bühler said.

“This encouraged us to accelerate the full integration and new setup of our food businesses,” Mr. Scheiber said.

Under the leadership of Germar Wacker, Haas achieved 382 million Swiss francs in order intake and 373 million Swiss francs in turnover. This represents the best result in the history of Haas, driven mainly by the Wafer and Biscuit business units.

Investments in the asset base rose 18% to 118 million Swiss francs, driven by spending on the new CUBIC innovation campus and application centers, the ongoing modernization of the Swiss locations, and the ramp-up of sites in China.

The new facility and R.&D. plant for the feed industry in Changzhou, China, was opened in 2018 and is in full operation.

The CUBIC innovation campus in Uzwil is nearing completion. The official inauguration of the fully operational campus is scheduled for spring. The CUBIC combines research and development with seven renewed application centers, which will be available to customers for conducting tests and trial series together with Bühler.

Spending on research and development amounted to 145 million Swiss francs (4.4% of turnover). The Group introduced more than 20 digital products, achieved sizable initial turnover, and entered a partnership with Microsoft in April 2018.