We get so caught up in the earnings releases of the major PLM vendors that we forget that other companies in the PLM universe also release information, much of it more closely tied to specific geographies or subsegments. Their results help round out the picture of the PLM universe, since their sales may be to a more limited geography and/or their products serve a more narrowly-defined need. As you’ll see, like the larger PLM vendors, they reported that the December quarter had a noticeably better business climate than the rest of 2009. One thing I hadn’t expected to see, however, was that these smaller players were better able to withstand the downturn, probably because their products fulfilled specific, well-defined requirement without trying to sell too broad business transformation vision.

CENIT positions itself as PLM “consultancy and software specialist for the optimization of business processes” in PLM, enterprise management and application management services. The company resells products from Dassault Systèmes, SAP, IBM Filenet and others, as well as its own add-on products and services. It reported preliminary results on February 15 that showed revenue holding steady “even in the face of increasingly difficult and unstable economic framework condition”. Hardest-hit was the company’s services business, which reported declining capacity utilization due to decreased sales to the auto industry; the company also saw “persistent investment reluctance” across its markets. Even so, CENIT reported sales of €86.6 million, up nearly 4% from 2008. Reportedly, CENIT saw license revenue hold up, as revenue from the company’s largest vertical (aerospace) offset declines in the more volatile but smaller automotive customer segment. We’ll know more in late March when the company release full, audited, results. For 2010, CENIT intends to use its positive cash position to make “acquisitions that strengthen [it] in technological or market position terms.”

M+M also reported preliminary results in February, although with a very different headline. Mensch und Maschine Software is a German CAD/CAM distributor of Autodesk products with locations in Europe, the US and Asia. The company reported that 2009 revenue declined 27% to €164 million. Like other vendors in the space, the year improved as it went along; revenue declined, year/year, in Q4 by 18% after a reduction of about 30% in the prior three quarters. MUM’s 2009 was especially difficult because the company is in the midst of a transition from distributor to VAR in selected large countries. This change has required building out a services capacity and acquiring/opening offices in new regions. M+M CEO Adi Drotleff said in a prepared statement that the reversal of the downward trend of the first three quarters of 2009 could signal an economic recovery, “though still on a modest level. A black zero for the operating result, the pleasingly high operating cash flows and the successful start-up of the new VAR business were the positive points of an otherwise very challenging year. The new fiscal year’s start was promising”, leading the company to target revenue growth of 10% to 13% for 2010. However, said Mr. Drotleff, ”After the deep 2009 drop it will probably take another year or two until we can hit the 2008 record marks of €223 million for sales and €10.9 million for EBITA, but we want to reach this target at the latest by 2012. The better margin potential of the VAR business compared to distribution, which has dominated so far, should help us to increase the group’s EBITA margin [from 4.9% in 2008 to] the 6-7% range.”

Cimatron provides CAD/CAM solutions for mold, tool and die makers as well as parts manufacturers for the automotive, medical, consumer plastics, electronics, and other industries. The company reported Q4 2009 revenue of $9.8 million, down 6% from the 2008 level. For the full year, revenue was down 19% to $33 million. Commenting on the results, Danny Haran, Comatron CEO, said “We are very pleased with the fourth quarter results. The combination of higher revenue (relative to previous quarters in 2009) and continued tight budget control has resulted in a strong bottom line in the fourth quarter, and positive cash flow for the entire year. 2009 was one of the toughest years for our industry, ever. In spite of a steep drop in global demand, we were able to generate a significant amount of cash in 2009, and even show small non-GAAP operating and net profits for the year… We are witnessing some signs of market recovery, and look forward to a hopefully less turbulent 2010.”

A number of vendors have yet to announce results. They and several of the private companies that also have a significant impact on our space, and make available selected factoids about their results, will be the focus of a future post.

And now a question for you: Which companies would you like to see covered this way? Send us an email!