Economic contribution

The higher the business value we can provide for our customers, the better our financial performance and the impact we can generate on our purpose of innovating for a better world. Two billion people each day enjoy foods produced by our equipment; and one billion people travel in vehicles manufactured using parts produced with our technology. Having this global relevance, we are in a unique position to turn today’s challenges into sustainable business. 


Economic contribution

The higher the business value we can provide for our customers, the better our financial performance and the impact we can generate on our purpose of innovating for a better world. Two billion people each day enjoy foods produced by our equipment; and one billion people travel in vehicles manufactured using parts produced with our technology. Having this global relevance, we are in a unique position to turn today’s challenges into sustainable business. 

Group report 2023

Reliable in a dynamic world

In 2023, Bühler successfully navigated a complex global landscape marked by rapid change, economic fluctuations, geopolitical tensions, and manifold opportunities resulting from the transition in our key markets. The most significant factors contributing to our achievements were the company’s underlying adaptivity to changing market conditions as well as our global set-up, on which our innovative solutions were able to unfurl. Again, we proved that we are a reliable partner for our customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and the financial markets. Looking ahead, we anticipate a demanding business environment, but remain committed to our strategic goal of profitable growth, our sustainability targets, our customers, our employees, and their further development.

Our financial development

In 2023, Bühler benefited from many opportunities and gained market share from transitions in its key markets, explain Stefan Scheiber, CEO, and Mark Macus, CFO. The company’s balanced geographical footprint allowed it to benefit from market expansions and thus offset lower business volumes in other markets. Profitability increased to an EBIT of CHF 216 million (+8.9%). The impact of foreign exchange rates was significant. Corrected for this effect, orders would have been CHF 180 million higher. Watch the video to learn more.

At Group level and in Swiss Francs, Bühler performed well with a slightly increased turnover of CHF 3.0 billion (+1.0%). Order intake was CHF 3.2 billion (-3.8%) and the order book remained high at CHF 2.0 billion. EBIT rose by 8.9% to CHF 216 million with a corresponding EBIT margin of 7.2% (prior year: 6.7%). Net profit increased by 16.3% to CHF 179 million (prior year: CHF 154 million), corresponding with a margin of 5.9% (prior year: 5.2%). 

The impact of foreign exchange rates was significant. In local currencies, orders improved by 2% to CHF 3.3 billion, turnover by 7% to CHF 3.2 billion, and EBIT by 17% to CHF 233 million.

The overall pattern of turnover growth clearly shows a new level of oscillation of markets and regions. It has become increasingly difficult to describe market developments, so business developments must be assessed at a more granular level. 

Taking this perspective, turnover growth stemmed from all businesses and regions. Highlights were the continued turnover growth of Die Casting by 23.4% and Leybold Optics by 22.1%, in our Advanced Materials business. In our Grains & Food business we also saw strong growth in Chocolate & Coffee (12.1%), Consumer Foods (24.7%) and Grain Quality & Supply (3.8%). In contrast, our Grinding & Dispersing business area, part of the Advanced Materials business, fell by 14.3%, and Value Nutrition, a business area of the Grains & Food business, fell by 19.4%. 

Grains & Food turnover developed stably and decreased by 3.1% to CHF 2,204 million, while Advanced Materials turnover grew by 15.9% to CHF 778 million. In 2023, Bühler integrated its Consumer Foods business into the Grains & Food segment. Building one harmonized food and feed organization will allow for more direct interfaces to customers and increase the efficiency of our company.

Given the overall market conditions, the development of our order intake was quite robust. The decline in the development of orders was partially due to a normalization, after extra high demand, for example for Leybold Optics and for Value Nutrition. Regional challenges such as in Europe and especially in China impacted most of our businesses. However, our business in North America grew significantly by 26%. Our Milling Solutions business had an order intake growth of 13.5% and Grain Quality & Supply excelled with a 20.5% increase in order intake, both benefiting from increased food security demand. 

Overall and measured in CHF, the Grains & Food order intake was down slightly (-0.7%) to CHF 2,357 million, and Advanced Materials orders normalized after three years of continued high growth at a still high level of CHF 774 million. Corrected for the foreign exchange effect, our orders on Group level would have been CHF 180 million higher.  

In 2023, Bühler’s financial position continued to be strong, with the equity ratio improving to 51.1% (prior year: 49.8%). Operating cash flow decreased by 37.1% to CHF 69 million. Net working capital increased by 37.4% to CHF 658 million driven by changed customer payment preference. Impacted by this development, net liquidity decreased by 17.5% to CHF 254 million. 

While the economic environment differed strongly across key markets, Bühler’s balanced geographical footprint allowed the company to benefit from market expansions and thus offset lower business volumes in other markets. Our local organizations were vital for the successes in the various markets, and through this they again contributed to the company’s stability and reliability in a multipolar world. The most notable developments were strong turnover growth in the Americas and significantly lower turnover volumes in China.

North America showed exceptional growth in order intake (+26%) and turnover (+24%), followed by strong development in Middle East Africa & India with an increase of 1% in order intake and 6% in turnover. India progressed excellently with growth in order intake (+13%) and turnover (+14%). The performance of Europe was mixed with a drop in order intake of 13% and a decrease in turnover (-5%).

Overall, Bühler’s regional share of turnover was as follows: the Americas 29%; Europe 28%; Asia 27%; and Middle East Africa & India 16%.

Bühler adopted a new regional structure on January 1, 2023, to increase focus and gain momentum in markets in Asia. The regions South East Asia and Greater China Region were established.

After decades of continuing expansion, Bühler’s Greater China Region for the first time declined both in order intake (-26%) and turnover (-22%) substantially. After 3 years of Covid-19 lockdown, the Chinese economy experienced challenges in 2023. Although domestic consumption improved, consumer confidence was not fully restored, and investments were very subdued. Additionally, exports suffered due to weakening global demand. Nevertheless, China overtook Japan to become the top car exporter globally thanks to the strong momentum of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and power batteries.

Impacted by the macroeconomic and industrial environment, after long periods of strong growth, Bühler Greater China Region experienced a reduction in operating revenue. While the Advanced Materials business in China continued to grow,  benefiting from the boom in NEVs, the Grains & Food business faced substantial challenges. In early 2023, Bühler Greater China Region launched a project to drive cost and organization efficiency. Bühler remains committed to China, our customers, employees, and partners and will continue to invest in innovation to increase competitiveness for the future.

Services gained importance in 2023, as they are the fastest lever to improve the performance and productivity of the existing installed processing assets of our customers. Services are key enablers to making our customers installed assets more efficient and sustainable. With increasing levels of regulation and market pull from their own customers, improving sustainability, traceability, and quality has become increasingly important for our customers.

Bühler’s Customer Service business (including components) showed turnover growth of 1.2% and amounted to CHF 966 million, adding substantially to the Group’s 2023 result. This represented a 32% share of the total Group turnover.

Apart from measurable improvements in the sustainability of our customers’ assets, the Bühler service portfolio delivers key benefits such as cost reductions, yield improvements, improved personnel and machine safety, better uptime, capacity usage, food and feed safety, and lifetime extension. In 2023, modernization projects continued to play a vital role for our customers. 

Strong growth was also noticeable in maintenance services – especially long-term services agreements – meeting the needs of customers looking for a reliable partner to manage everyday maintenance and operations challenges. Remote support services grew to more than 1,000 agreements. The number of core machines under a Total Care agreement (Bühler’s inspection and maintenance services program) grew by more than 5,000, or 30%, to 22,000. In addition, 200 customer production facilities – an increase of over 50% – are benefiting from connected digital services which enable customers to better monitor, predict, and control production, supported by Bühler’s process experts. 

Bühler has Application & Training Centers in 25 locations around the world – some of which cover multiple industrial applications – offering dedicated training for our customers and providing them with a collaborative platform to test new product ideas and experiment with product innovations. Over the last few years, Bühler’s global network of application centers has expanded, bringing together new business partners, academy, start-ups, and suppliers, with the goal of offering a state-of-the-art set-up for customers to drive innovation.

In October 2023, along with the Institute of Food Technology (Ital), the FoodTech Hub Latam, Cargill, and Givaudan, Bühler opened the Tropical Food Innovation Lab in Brazil. This innovation ecosystem develops sustainable food and beverages while promoting biodiversity in Brazil.

In November 2023, Bühler opened four Application & Training Centers in Uzwil – Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center, and Energy Recovery Center. They complement the existing centers, such as the Extrusion Application Center. The new centers connect the entire value chain and enable a circular economy approach to food production.

Combined, the Application & Training Centers in Uzwil produce about 550 tons of biomass annually. To make optimum use of the waste and by-products generated by the centers, Bühler and its strategic partner, Vyncke, built the Energy Recovery Center, which serves as a heating facility for Bühler's headquarters. The Energy Recovery Center also works as a demonstration and testing platform for customers who want to reduce CO2e footprint, waste production, and energy costs by using side streams.

A new Grain Processing Innovation Center (GPIC) in Kano, Nigeria, is also under construction and should open its doors in the second quarter of 2024. The center will be focused on the development of products, recipes, and processes using local grains, such as sorghum, millets, maize, soybeans, fonio, and pulses with the overall objective to improve the local value-add in the food system of the country.

Milling Solutions, together with the other business areas, also started construction on a new Grain Innovation Center (GIC) in Uzwil, where Bühler and its customers and partners will develop, test, and scale sustainable and efficient solutions for grain and feed processing to improve food and feed solutions. The GIC is scheduled to start operations by the end of 2024.

Sustainability is embedded in all functions, responsibilities, and activities of our company. There are three key elements that contribute to the transition of our industries: new processing technologies, services, as well as new skills especially for digitalization, automatization, data management and the like. To keep the pace of innovation high, expenses for research and development (R&D) remained stable at CHF 140 million (4.7% of turnover). In 2023, 50 new products were successfully launched.

In 2023, Bühler made progress towards the company’s sustainability targets (Scopes 1 and 2) and the targets for its customers (Scope 3). Pathways were refined and aligned with the organization to reach the company’s 2025 and 2030 goals. Bühler is committed to having solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that will reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in its customers’ value chains (50/50/50 goal). The 50/50/50 goals will create the biggest impact. The food, feed, and materials processed on Bühler technologies help to feed an estimated 2 billion people and provide mobility for 1 billion people every day. We therefore seek to support our customers to reach their sustainability targets and minimize their greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2023, for example, we unveiled our Carat megacasting solution for the die casting and automotive industry. Aluminum castings can dramatically reduce CO2e emissions in manufacturing and minimize waste. Bühler’s internal studies show that megacasting offers the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by 70% compared to benchmark emissions today.

Furthermore, Bühler has developed a pathway to achieve 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations by 2030 (Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scopes 1 & 2, 2019 baseline), as well as addressing energy, waste, water, and the associated emissions. 

In 2023, the prioritization of our global strategy toward achieving this goal has been clearly redefined – first we prioritize reduction of energy consumption, second, we look at alternative, “greener” methods of producing energy, and only in the third step do we look at the way electricity is procured and the use of green electricity certificates. 

In 2023, Bühler approved investments of over CHF 510,000 with an estimated annual savings of 1,600 MWh, equivalent to 1% of the previous year’s energy consumption. This contributed to overall energy savings at all manufacturing sites amounting to 8% compared to the previous year. In Uzwil, our energy recovery system provides heating for the headquarters using biomass generated from our Application & Training Centers on site. Together with other measures already implemented at the site – such as switching to wood pellets – it is estimated that the Energy Recovery Center will reduce CO2e emissions for heating energy by over 60% (reference year 2015). As of the end of 2023, we have already achieved a reduction in Scopes 1 and 2 of nearly 20% compared to our 2019 baseline.

Additionally, “lighthouse” Bühler sites were defined in 2023. At these locations, projects to reduce consumption in energy-intensive areas will be implemented. In Wuxi, China, a heat-recovery system was installed. In Johannesburg, South Africa, 650 solar panels were installed to generate around 40% of the energy consumed at the site. In Beilngries, Germany, plans are in place to change the formation of oven doors to reduce heat loss during the painting process.

The economic climate in 2024 is still likely to be characterized by continued volatility and we expect difficult market conditions, with ongoing high interest rates and costs dampening the markets generally. Nevertheless, Bühler is well positioned to navigate through dynamic times and to benefit from new opportunities that arise, especially in view of the new innovative portfolio of products and services we are offering. A carryover of CHF 2.0 billion orders serves as a stable starting position for the business in 2024. We are very aware that efficient processes and improved productivity will be key to keeping performance high. Our innovations, with sustainability as a driver, as well as our passionate Bühler employees, will help us to generate solid results in 2024.

Annual results by business

Grains & Food: solid performance

In 2023, Grains & Food performed solidly. In a challenging business environment turnover fell by 3.1% to CHF 2,204 million, while order intake was down 0.7% to CHF 2,357 million. In local currencies, turnover increased by 2.2% and order intake grew by 4.8%.

Turnover Grains & Food


in million CHF

Order intake Grains & Food


in million CHF

Advanced Materials: record growth

In 2023, the Advanced Materials business continued its success. Whereas turnover grew strongly by 15.9% to CHF 778 million, order intake fell by 11.2% to CHF 774 million, indicating that business volumes were normalizing. In local currencies, turnover increased by 23%, while order intake reduced by 5%. 

Turnover Advanced Materials


in million CHF

Order intake Advanced Materials


in million CHF

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