Demand for the products and services of Bucher Industries declined notably in the first half of 2020 as a consequence of the spread of COVID-19. A recovery set in at mid-year and gained momentum towards the end of the reporting period, but order intake and sales were nevertheless lower overall. The Group expects the operating profit margin for 2020 to be slightly higher than at mid-year and profit for the period to be correspondingly lower versus 2019.
Emhart Glass, a division of Bucher Industries and the worldwide market leader in glass container forming machinery, is planning to step up its response to the shift in the glass container markets from customized, high-end equipment to more standardized glass-forming machinery. The proposed realignment of production and engineering capacities will increase the division's flexibility, cost efficiency and profitability, while improving proximity to its customers worldwide.
Bucher Industries increased sales by 14% to CHF 1 931 million in the first nine months of the current business year. All divisions contributed to this pleasing development. The order intake of CHF 1 768 million was only 2% down on the same period of last year. For 2012 as a whole, the Group continues to expect improved sales, operating profit and profit for the year.
Bucher Municipal, a division of Bucher Industries AG, is strengthening its winter maintenance business by organising all the division's winter maintenance activities under one management. To facilitate the integration, Bucher Municipal is increasing its shareholding in Giletta S.p.A., Italy, from 50% to 60%.
In the first half of 2012, Bucher Industries increased sales by 21% to CHF 1 381 million, operating profit rose by 50% to CHF 133 million and the profit for the period by 64% to CHF 90 million. Order intake decreased by 9% to CHF 1 081 million as a result of economic conditions. For 2012, the Group continues to reckon with an improvement in sales, operating profit and profit for the year.
Bucher Municipal, a division of Bucher Industries AG, seeks to exploit economies of scale within Johnston Sweepers in the UK by looking at combining the three UK manufacturing sites operated by the company into a single site in Dorking, Surrey. The envisaged investment amounts to GBP 11 million in infrastructure and new production technologies.
Bucher Industries increased sales by 28% to CHF 686 million in the first three months of 2012. Companies acquired in 2011 contributed 8% to this good performance. The high level of the order book at the turn of the year was an important factor in achieving this strong growth. The order intake of CHF 586 million was 9% lower year on year.
The shareholders attending today's annual general meeting of Bucher Industries AG approved all the board of directors' proposals. In addition to the regular agenda items, the shareholders approved the re-election of Claude Cornaz and Heinrich Spoerry to the board, as well as a capital reduction through cancellation of 2.99% of the shares.
In the 2011 financial year, Bucher Industries was able to further increase earning power, despite the strength of the Swiss franc. With strong demand and capacity utilisation at a high level, Bucher Industries increased operating profit by 26% to CHF 190 million. The operating profit margin rose from 7.4% to 8.1%. Profit for the year was CHF 127 million, 30% higher than the previous year. The board of directors is proposing a dividend of CHF 4.00 per share to the annual general meeting of 12 April 2012.