Dear employees, customers, and business partners,
As a Swiss-based company, 2016 marked the proof point that we have successfully navigated through the Euro/Swiss franc decoupling the year before. Mitigating actions such as financial hedging or increased working hours have been phased out. New challenges were generated by low oil and raw material prices and increased regional instability.
Against these strong headwinds, Bühler showed a healthy performance in 2016. While continuing our policy of reinvesting profits, we managed to grow and gain market share. In comparison to last year’s decline of 4%, order intake in 2016 was up 3% to CHF 2.54 billion. Turnover rose by 2% to CHF 2.45 billion, and profitability remained stable at an EBIT margin of 7.1%. Other key financial figures also underscore the strong financial position of our company. With zero debt, net liquidity rose by 18% to CHF 462 million at an equity ratio of 47% (previous year: 46%).
This success is the result of multiple factors: innovation, superior service, and best quality. We significantly increased our R&D investments to leverage global trends such as alternative protein sources and e-mobility. Following our vision of “innovations for a better world” we invested into state-of-the-art insect processing and experienced a breakthrough by becoming a leading supplier for the lithium battery business. With additional service centers we expanded our network to 92 locations, serving our customers “in the markets for the markets”. To continue delivering at the highest standards, we further invested into innovative production and engineering sites in Switzerland, Vietnam, and China – which is accompanied by the ongoing training and education of our staff. Their commitment and high quality work is outstanding and deserves our recognition and gratitude.
We can look positively into the future. Taking our solid foundation into account, and notwithstanding potentially fluctuating market conditions and regional developments, we are well positioned to increase growth and profitability in 2017 and the years to come.
We would like to thank you, our clients and partners, for your continued support. As a family-owned company, we will continue to place sustainability at the heart of everything we do.
Calvin Grieder Stefan Scheiber
Chairman of the Board Chief Executive Officer