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.
At today's annual general meeting of Bucher Industries AG, the shareholders agreed to all the proposals put forward by the board of directors. The dividend is CHF 8.00 per registered share. 213 shareholders with voting rights were present and a total of 72.84% of the votes were represented.
Bucher Industries increased sales by 16% in the 2018 financial year, exceeding the CHF 3 billion mark. All divisions increased sales in double-digit percentage terms. The Group posted an operating profit margin of 9.1%. The profit for the year amounted to CHF 215 million, showing a much stronger growth than sales. The board of directors is proposing a dividend of CHF 8.00 per registered share.
2018 was a successful year for Bucher Industries. Sales rose by 16%, surpassing the CHF 3 billion mark for the first time. All divisions contributed to this positive development. The economic momentum was particularly strong in the first half of the year and diminished somewhat towards the end of the year. The Group anticipates a marked rise in the profit for the year.
Overall, in the first nine months of 2018, the positive trend in the markets of Bucher Industries continued. All five divisions made a contribution to the significant increase in both order intake and sales.
The two divisions of Bucher Industries active in the agricultural machinery market are expanding their businesses by taking over leading suppliers in their respective fields: Kuhn Group is acquiring Artec Pulvérisation, one of the leading manufacturers of self-propelled agricultural sprayers in France, while Bucher Specials with its Bucher Landtechnik business unit is buying the import business of Grunderco S.A. with combines as well as the associated service business with contractors. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase prices.
Order intake at Bucher Industries rose by 20% year on year in the first half of 2018. All divisions contributed to this positive development. Group sales increased by 19%. Of this increase, 5 percentage points were attributable to the currency translation effect, largely as a consequence of the stronger euro. The operating profit margin stood at 9.1%. Bucher Industries will change its accounting standards from IFRS to Swiss GAAP FER as per 1 January 2019.
In 2017, Bucher Industries continued to implement its sustainability strategy for example through the technological development of products that reduce emissions and the use of resources, as well as measures to train and develop employees.
Bucher Hydraulics, a division of Bucher Industries, has agreed to form a joint venture in China by acquiring an 80% stake in Wuxi Deli Fluid Technology Co., Ltd, the leading manufacturer of hydraulic pumps and compact power units in China. This acquisition will strengthen the division’s presence in China as well as its global product range. The transaction is yet to be approved by the Chinese authorities.