Good business performance
In Europe, uncertainty about economic developments continued to leave its mark, while in North and South America the positive mood was sustained. The downturn in China continued. The positive development in all divisions and individual businesses, particularly above-average growth in demand for agricultural machinery around the world, underpinned the pleasing increase in the order intake. There was a marked decline in demand for municipal vehicles, as anticipated, while sales at Bucher Emhart Glass were slightly down on the previous year. However, the sales figures overall showed a positive trend.
Tender offer for Jetter AG
On 9 September 2013, Bucher Industries announced that it was presenting all the shareholders of Jetter AG, Ludwigsburg, Germany, with a tender offer at a price of 7.00 euros per share. The offer documents were published on 30 September 2013, and the takeover was approved by the German Federal Cartel Office on 8 October 2013. On 23 October 2013, the number of Jetter shares tendered or acquired in parallel trading during the tender period reached 1 184 680. Together with the stake already held by Bucher prior to the tender offer, the total holding of Jetter shares represented 66.53% of the equity. After completion of the acquisition, Jetter AG will be consolidated in the Bucher Specials segment where it will continue to be managed separately like the other independent companies.
Dynamic main markets
Kuhn Group continued to profit from buoyant demand in its principal markets in Europe, North America and Brazil. Agricultural commodity prices remained at a good level, despite a decline. The investment climate remained friendly, with farmers still enjoying a favourable income situation. In this market environment, Kuhn Group was able to increase order intake and sales. Inventories at Kuhn dealers were at a normal level. The Kuhn Centre for Progress, a technology, demonstration and training centre in Saverne, France, was launched in the third quarter with an event for the trade press.
In Europe, the recovery in demand for municipal vehicles and winter maintenance equipment continued and the division was able to increase its order intake. In Australia, by contrast, customers delayed individual project commitments until the fourth quarter of the current year. As expected, sales fell compared with the very high level of the previous year, which was influenced by a major order worth CHF 50 million from the city of Moscow. In October of the reporting year, Bucher Municipal won a follow-up order from Moscow for 218 truck-mounted and compact sweepers and 86 spreaders for winter maintenance. The order is worth CHF 19 million, of which CHF 12 million will have an impact on sales in the current year.
Thanks to positive demand in most of the market segments served by Bucher Hydraulics, as well as the acquisition of German company Ölhydraulik Altenerding, the division’s order intake increased, both in absolute terms and organically. The construction machinery and lift hydraulics segments were the only exception, continuing to lag behind the levels achieved the previous year. Sales increased significantly, boosted by the acquisition in Germany. The strong growth dynamic in North America lost a little momentum, but in Asian markets there was an upturn in both project activity and demand. Eco Systemas, Porto Alegre, Brazil, which was acquired on 1 July 2013, started operations as a Group company under its new name: Bucher Hidráulica Ltda.
Upturn in demand
Demand for machinery for the manufacture of glass containers picked up in the reporting period. The upturn was particularly strong in the inspection machinery segment. Business declined sharply in China as a result of the marked fall in economic growth. The measures adopted as part of the division’s realignment proceeded as planned and the expansion of the production plant in Malaysia made good progress. Despite the demanding circumstances, Bucher Emhart Glass managed to increase its order intake. Sales were slightly lower compared with the previous year, which was affected by a major order from India worth CHF 19 million. The planned annual cost savings are gradually coming into play and will be fully effective by 2015 when they will amount to around EUR 25 million. The new Bucher Emhart Glass logo and corporate identity presented in October 2013 as part of the realignment are a powerful symbol of the division’s affiliation to the Group.
In the first nine months of the year, Bucher Specials posted a significant rise in order intake and sales. This upward trend was driven largely by the good performance of Bucher Unipektin, which also benefitted from the acquisition of Bucher Filtrox Systems. Bucher Vaslin reported further growth in its business with winemaking equipment, and the Swiss distributorship for tractors and agricultural machinery also continued to expand.
Outlook for the Group in 2013
The Group expects an uncertain economic situation to persist in the USA because of unresolved issues over the federal budget and indebtedness. In Europe, the countries north of the Alps could see the beginnings of a hesitant recovery. However, the recessionary tendencies in southern Europe are expected to continue. Overall, the Group remains confident about the 2013 business year. It confirms its projections for the current year and anticipates a modest increase in sales and a further improvement in operating profit and profit for the year.
Simply great machines
Bucher Industries is a global technology group with leading market positions in speciality areas of mechanical and vehicle engineering. The company's operations include specialised agricultural machinery, municipal vehicles, hydraulic components, manufacturing equipment for the glass container industry and for production of wine, fruit juice and instant products. The group's shares are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX: BUCN).