Group

CHF million

January – March

Change in

Full year

 

2018

2017

%

%1)

2017

Order intake

748

635

17.9

13.8

2 871

Net sales

721

616

17.1

12.5

2 647

Order book

1 012

741

36.7

30.8

960

Number of employees at closing date

12 422

11 511

7.9

 

12 108

1)Adjusted for currency effects

 

For the Group, the year began against a favourable economic backdrop, especially in Europe, with a much-improved investment climate compared with the first quarter of 2017. Bucher Industries’ group sales and order intake were significantly higher than in the same quarter of the previous year. Europe saw a continuation of the recovery in the agricultural machinery market that had begun the previous year. Demand in Europe was boosted as milk and meat prices stabilised. In the first months of the new year, demand for municipal vehicles, hydraulic components and glass-forming machinery remained strong. The business for equipment for making wine and fruit juice as well as automation solutions also picked up considerably. Euro appreciation led to a positive translation effect.
 

Kuhn Group

CHF million

January – March

Change in

Full year

 

2018

2017

%

%1)

2017

Order intake

263

224

17.4

13.2

1 138

Net sales

315

286

9.9

5.1

1 076

Order book

400

308

29.9

24.4

440

Number of employees at closing date

5 401

5 063

6.7

 

5 235

1)Adjusted for currency effects

 

Positive European markets

The situation in the agricultural machinery market was encouraging, particularly in Western Europe. A recovery continued in France, where the effects of poor harvests in 2016 were still being felt last year. Dairy and livestock farming performed well in the first quarter. However, the arable sector will need more time to recover, especially in North America, due to high inventories and good harvests. Farmers in North America have consequently had to contend with low incomes, and the cold and wet spring weather was a factor in their reticence to invest. There were also signs of caution in Brazil, where the upcoming elections and associated uncertainties over subsidy programmes curbed farmers’ willingness to invest. Compared with the same period in the previous year, the order intake increased by a pleasing 17%. Sales growth was lower, at 10%, which was partly attributable to delays in delivery.
 

Bucher Municipal

CHF million

January – March

Change in

Full year

 

2018

2017

%

%1)

2017

Order intake

136

109

24.3

20.1

486

Net sales

118

87

35.0

30.5

426

Order book

186

125

49.7

44.3

165

Number of employees at closing date

2 088

1 794

16.4

 

2 014

1)Adjusted for currency effects

 

Sustained strong demand

The favourable economic climate in Europe and Australia produced an increase in demand for municipal vehicles. More truck mounted and compact sweepers were requested in France, Germany and Russia. Demand for sewer cleaning vehicles increased significantly, as did demand for refuse collection vehicles in Australia. An early winter with plenty of snow encouraged a further recovery in the winter maintenance equipment business. The general rise in demand resulted in a significant growth of 24% in order intake. Sales grew by as much as 35%, thanks to a well-filled order book at the start of the year coupled with increased sweeper production capacity.
 

Bucher Hydraulics

CHF million

January – March

Change in

Full year

 

2018

2017

%

%1)

2017

Order intake

176

148

19.3

16.9

581

Net sales

158

135

16.6

13.9

546

Order book

138

94

46.3

42.8

118

Number of employees at closing date

2 354

2 069

13.8

 

2 319

1)Adjusted for currency effects

 

Further record figures

Demand for hydraulic components in the main markets Europe, North America and Asia remained extraordinarily high in the first quarter of 2018. Within Europe, the key market Germany was very buoyant. The three largest segments – materials handling, agricultural machinery and construction machines – reported continuing high growth rates. Brisk demand for hydraulics solutions was reflected in the division’s order intake, which increased by 19%. Sales rose 17% compared with the first quarter of 2017, setting a new record.
 

Bucher Emhart Glass

CHF million

January – March

Change in

Full year

 

2018

2017

%

%1)

2017

Order intake

101

102

0.6

7.7

449

Net sales

87

69

25.1

16.0

381

Order book

200

139

44.3

33.4

177

Number of employees at closing date

1 636

1 640

0.2

 

1 630

1)Adjusted for currency effects

 

Positive market sentiment

In nearly all markets, the increase in global demand for glass encouraged manufacturers of glass containers to further invest. There was an upward trend in in North America and fortunately, the recovery in China continued. The order intake almost matched the high figure for the first quarter of 2017, despite project-related fluctuations. Thanks to a well-filled order book at year-end and to lively investment activity, sales increased by 25%.
 

Bucher Specials

CHF million

January – March

Change in

Full year

 

2018

2017

%

%1)

2017

Order intake

86

62

37.4

33.6

275

Net sales

62

53

18.5

15.2

272

Order book

104

86

21.9

18.6

80

Number of employees at closing date

881

883

0.2

 

849

1)Adjusted for currency effects

 

Strong recovery in beverage technologies

Bucher Unipektin’s beverage technologies were greatly in demand in the first quarter of 2018, with major orders secured in Eastern Europe and Asia. The beer filtration business benefited from investments by brewers in Mexico. Bucher Vaslin’s grape presses and spare parts were also more sought after. In particular, there was an increase in demand for reception lines. Encouragingly, the trend in France was positive once again, despite adverse weather conditions in the previous year. The Swiss market for agricultural machinery was in marked decline as the year began. Uncertainties about the country’s agricultural policy strategy 2022 and new free trade agreements persisted, making farmers less inclined to invest. However, there was increased demand for Jetter’s automation technology control systems, thanks to the favourable economic conditions in Germany in particular, and to strong demand for control systems for glass-forming machinery.
 

Outlook for 2018

The Group assumes market trends to remain positive overall during the current year. Kuhn Group expects stable milk and livestock prices in Europe, but continued volatility in arable product prices, especially in North America. The political tensions between the USA and China could well contribute to further delays in recovery in North America. Kuhn Group’s operating profit margin is likely to again be adversely impacted by uncertainties in North America and by its current challenges with the supply chain and human resources. With a well-filled order book and high order intake in the first quarter, Bucher Municipal expects a continuing upward trend. The division will also be able to further exploit the cost-saving potential of its increased sweeper production capacity over the course of the year. Bucher Hydraulics anticipates demand for its hydraulic solutions to remain high. The upbeat market sentiment in the glass container industry is likely to continue, and with it the high demand for Bucher Emhart Glass’s glass-forming machinery. Bucher Specials forecasts its four business units to perform well overall. The Group expects its sales and net profit for the year to increase.
 

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 wine and fruit juice production, as well as control systems for automation technology. The Group’s shares are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX: BUCN).