ESI Group reported today that revenue for the second quarter was up 11% to €19 million, on license revenue growth of 12%. CEO Alain de Rouvray said, “The second quarter saw an acceleration in the growth of our activity, particularly in Europe. Over the first half, the rate of repeat business for licenses remained at a high level and new business improved significantly… Despite the turmoil that can be expected in the current economic context, the Group’s prospects remain very positive.”

The details:
• License revenue was €13 million in Q2, up 12% as reported and up 15% at constant currency.
• ESI said that new business (a mix of new products and new clients) recorded a significant increase, up 28% to €3.5 million, with Europe seeing disproportionally high growth, albeit off a very small comparable.
• Services revenue was up 8% to €6 million, led by Asia, which was up 51%.
• For the first two quarters of the year, revenue from Europe was up 16%; performance “improved” in Asia, while the Americas were affected by the “postponement of some business as companies globally aligned license renewal dates”. Revenue from Europe was €13.5 million; Asia, €16 million; and the Americas, €7 million, in the first half.
• By vertical, the company characterized performance as “exceptional” in the aeronautical (up 43% over last year), energy (up 29%) and education (up 42%) sectors.

ESI has also made a number of other announcements recently that deserve mention. In August, the company signed a five-year agreement with BIAM, the Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials of AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) for “close scientific collaboration in innovative and complementary technologies… to create a future joint research activity for the digital technology of aeronautical materials.” This is a big deal — all of the PLM and CAE vendors would love closer ties to AVIC and the giant aerospace market it represents in China and greater Asia. All hope that these agreements to work together to create future engagements really mean “large deployments in the not-too-distant future”.

Later in August, ESI announced the acquisition of IC.IDO, a vendor of immersive virtual reality solutions. IC.IDO (“I see I do”) sells The Visual Decision Platform, an immersive environment, to companies that design and manufacture very complex products. They use IC.IDO’s products (IDO:Explore, IDO:Packaging and so on) to present, manipulate and exchange product information, enabling  participants to experience the product from all angles, and try various what-if scenarios. Financial details  were not disclosed but ESI did say that IC.IDO had sales of “around €4.6 million” in 2010, with a double-digit growth rate. At the time of the acquisition, Vincent Chaillou, President and COO of ESI, said, “This high performance 3D visualization technology is key for our customers to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical prototyping worlds because it combines a remarkably intuitive and robust immersive user interface with unique real-time physics simulation.” ESI intends to build on the acquisition by enhancing the virtual prototyping visualization capabilities of its other products and solutions and to quickly grow revenue by making IC.IDO’s products available around the world — far beyond IC.IDO’s own reach.

I am very interested to see how ESI integrates virtual reality with CAE — will one, for example, be able to get inside a PAM-CRASH crash simulation, pull apart components to examine crumple zones and perhaps try out alternative configurations for the structural components? A very interesting idea.