SWITZERLAND– Bühler faced the challenging environment of 2020 head on, launching a record 86 new innovations and solutions in celebration of its 160 years of existence.
Despite of its resilience, the difficult environment occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic did have an impact on the company’s sales.
Swiss plant equipment manufacturer reported an annual turnover of CHF 2.7 billion (about US$3.03 billion), down 17.0% from CHF 3.3 billion (about US$3.7 billion) achieved during the same period in 2019.
Bühler noted that its Consumer Foods (CF) business was more affected by the pandemic, as customers in the industry suffered from much diminished traffic in duty-free shops, restaurants, and hotels – much less business originated for them because of reduced events.
Consumer Foods business order intake decreased 29.2% to CHF 549 million while its turnover decreased 25.8% to CHF 574 million.
The Swiss company however notes that there was strong growth of the Value Nutrition business due to high interest in meat alternatives from plant-based proteins.
The build-up of large food parks such as in Egypt and the strong growth of Bühler Leybold Optics’ optical coating solutions, addressing the high demand for computer chips also contributed to this growth.
While all markets reported lower volumes, Bühler Asia managed to remain stable supported by the strong growth of the company’s business in China.
The company notes that order intake in China rose sharply by 15% for the full year.
Regarding turnover, Asia now makes up 35% (previous year: 31%), Europe 30% (30%), North America 16% (16%), Middle East & Africa 11% (14%), South America 5% (6%), and South Asia 3% (3%).
Despite the challenging environment, Bühler continued to execute its innovation roadmap, launching 86 new products and solutions.
The company says all its innovation efforts are aligned to the company’s commitment to lower energy use, water consumption, and waste in the value chains of its food, feed, and mobility customers by 50% until 2025.
In 2020, Bühler opened new application centers for food in Minneapolis, US, for malting and brewing in Beilngries, Germany, and a new training and education center for cocoa processing in Abidjan, Cote-d’Ivoire.
With Givaudan, the global leader in flavors and fragrances, Bühler built an Innovation Center dedicated to plant-based foods in Singapore. The new facility is planned to open in March 2021.
Bühler also formed a Joint Venture with Canada’s Premier Tech in China for new packaging solutions which started very successfully in 2020.
Furthermore, Bühler drove latest innovations for digital platforms and solutions successfully into industrial applications globally with impressive success.
Bühler says it took all learnings from 2020 to increase business excellence and develop the “new normal”, for example, by switching to digital customer communication formats, such as the Bühler Virtual World.
For 2021, Stefan Scheiber said the company was “laying ground to return to profitable growth in future, by addressing new markets and adapting to new market conditions and opportunities with agility and determination,”