Annual Report 2023

Group Business Review

Higher profitability with slightly decreased sales

Macroeconomic uncertainties, geopolitical tensions, and high inflation in many regions shaped the market environment over the past year. Nevertheless, Bystronic increased its profitability despite slightly lower sales and continued to implement its strategy successfully. We launched new product innovations, achieved growth in the service business, and – together with a major European customer – made a Smart Factory a reality. In the USA, we extended our line of locally produced machines, and in China we expanded our Competence Center for automation solutions.

Order intake and sales development

Order intake decreased in 2023 by 21% (–16% at constant exchange rates) to CHF 794 million. This can be attributed to the fact that our customers were cautious with their investment decisions due to higher interest rates and were waiting until financing costs decrease. As a result, demand declined in the EMEA, APAC and China regions. The Americas region achieved an order volume on par with the previous year at constant exchange rates. Supporting factors that made a difference included the US trend of reshoring, US infrastructure programs and the expansion of our market position in the region.

Thanks to a high order backlog at the beginning of the year, Bystronic attained a sales volume just below that of the previous year at constant exchange rates. However, the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc had a significantly negative impact. As a result, reported sales decreased by 8% to CHF 930 million.

Operating result and profitability

Bystronic increased its operating result (EBIT) by 13% to CHF 54 million and improved its EBIT margin to 5.8% (2022: 4.7%). This is primarily attributable to three measures:

We were faced with considerable foreign exchange headwinds in 2023 due to the strong Swiss franc. In the EMEA and China regions, revenues and costs balanced each other out in local currency for the most part, and exchange losses were limited. In the Americas and APAC regions, however, revenues in local currency were higher than costs. Since we partially hedged the corresponding foreign exchange risk, we were able to mitigate the effect of the strong Swiss franc. Nevertheless, exchange losses in the mid-single-digit millions were a burden on the operating result.

Net result, cash flow, and dividend

The annual net result was CHF 42 million (2022: CHF 37 million). Earnings per class A registered share amounted to CHF 20.28.

After the supply chain challenges of recent years, a higher availability of components allowed us to expedite the finishing and shipping of mostly completed machines. We were also able to continue calling in outstanding payments from customers. As a result, operating free cash flow improved from CHF –41 million in the prior year to CHF 34 million. Cash and cash equivalents and securities remained at a very high level of CHF 349 million as of December 31, 2023. At 14.2%, RONOA reached a level similar to that of the prior year (2022: 15.1%).

The Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting on April 17, 2024, that a dividend of CHF 12.00 per class A registered share and of CHF 2.40 per class B registered share be distributed. In total, CHF 25 million will be distributed to shareholders. The proposal reflects the solid performance of the prior financial year and is in accordance with the dividend policy. This sets aside between one third and one half of the net result for distribution, taking into account the company's liquidity situation and future needs. 


For 2024, Bystronic anticipates a continued challenging market environment and an order intake similar to that of previous quarters. Due to the strength of the Swiss franc and the lower order backlog compared to last year, the company expects to have declining sales with lower profitability. The Group anticipates a weak beginning of the year and improvement over the course of the year. 

Regions Strategy