STRONG OPERATING BUSINESS
The food processing business increased order in-take by 7% to CHF 2.1 billion and, with that, its turnover by 7% to CHF 2 billion. An important factor in our success is the ability of Grains & Food to offer sustainable, integrated, complete solutions, which we demonstrated at our booth at Interpack, in Düsseldorf, Germany where we held our Networking Days @ Interpack event. To continue promoting this approach of providing integrated solutions, we decided in 2017 to refocus Grains & Food. This involves the renaming and further development of the business areas. These changes took effect at the beginning of 2018. The business areas and results shown in this report reflect the structures from 2017.
Grain Logistics (in 2018: Grain Quality & Supply)
Grain Logistics continued to expand its leading position in the beer market and was able to win globally significant malting projects. Five of the newest plants in Holland, the US, Australia, China, and Vietnam were put into operation. The rice business was equally successful. Bühler secured its position as the global market leader with large orders, primarily from Nigeria and Angola. To achieve this, the close collaboration with the individual business areas was crucial. The conveying system TUBO, launched in 2016, was very well received on the market and was launched for other raw materials such as coffee and rice. In contrast, challenging conditions in the grain storage market led to postponement of large investments in Asia.
Grain Milling (in 2018: Milling Solutions)
With multiple large projects, Grain Milling is again on a course of growth and was able to further expand its leading position in saturated markets. In Switzerland, the highly acclaimed Kornhaus in Zurich was completed through a close partnership between Swissmill and Bühler. In the US, we successfully put a new process for manufacturing corn flour into operation for our customer Plant Good Harvest. The Prime Masa reduces wastewater by about 90% using steam and increases yields at the same time.
In Rwanda, a plant for manufacturing fortified foods for expectant mothers and babies started operation with the goal of reducing malnutrition in the country. It was a community project within Bühler Milling Solutions and Value Nutrition and partner DSM. Bühler also received a large order to supply over 1,000 microdosing units in Pakistan. These have been placed with local milling operations as part of the British Food Fortification Programme and will have a positive effect on millions of people in this region.
Value Nutrition recorded an excellent business year. The strategic focus on the feed business led to strong increases in market share in Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and Asia. After the delivery of the first five plants for the Philippine food group San Miguel, Bühler and the company reached an agreement on further expansions.
The close partnership with the pasta maker Barilla resulted in a new project in Russia and an expansion of the Bühler pasta business. Value Nutrition opened application centers in China to adapt end products even more to market demands: in Wuxi, it opened Pasta & Noodles, and in Changzhou, a center for the production of machinery and plants for animal feed, aquafeed, and pet food. With an order for the first industrial insect processing plant in Europe, Bühler proved that it is possible to scale protein production from insects. The plant will serve as a blueprint.
Sortex & Rice (in 2018: Digital Technologies)
Sortex & Rice recorded above-average growth in optical sorters as well as in rice processing. The newly introduced sorting technology for frozen vegetables and fruits grew faster than the market; at the same time, Bühler was able to reinforce its position in the recycling market. Sorting PET waste using the Bühler Sortex E PolyVision and Sortex A ColorVision machines creates bottle-grade recycled PET flakes at the highest yield in the market. The business area has now put the same technical capabilities to use for developing the first completely digital quality service for rice: TotalSense. This app allows processors to subscribe to a cloud solution that can reliably collect and document the quality of a rice sample in just a few seconds.
Consumer Foods developed very well over 2017. Japanese customer Meito decided to build a new plant in Seto, north of Nagoya, and chose Bühler as their preferred full-scope provider. The order consists of a complete cocoa processing line, from cocoa bean intake to cocoa liquor, and a chocolate mass production line from ingredient handling to liquid chocolate mass storage.
The coffee business was also successful in the past year. The new coffee roaster ordered by Chicco d’Oro in 2015 was successfully commissioned. Bühler also signed a contract with its Norwegian customer Joh. Johannson to build a carbon-neutral plant. We demonstrated our competence in integrated and sustainable complete solutions with our Networking Days @ Interpack where we launched 20 product innovations, including a robot-supported plant for lower volumes (ChocoBotic) and DoMiReCo, a digital, self-controlled process.