It’s the Economy …
I don’t know where the whole “it’s Washington’s Birthday weekend so let’s buy a car” thing started, but Reuters and other news outlets say that the double whammy of lousy weather and over-production have led auto makers to offer unusually good incentives this year. Toyota and Honda, which don’t typically discount, are offering 10% price cuts on mid-sized sedans. Reuters says that new vehicle sales were down 10% year/year or more (depending on brand) in January, a trend that some think could continue, especially if economic news continues to be gloomy. If it does, it likely means production cuts. On the other hand, Reuters found a stat that says the average US vehicle is 12 years old, which means incentives could tip buyers into opening their wallets. One analyst even said that “U.S. sales can be sustained at a relatively high level” through 2019. Hmm.
PLMish Deals and Earnings
Last week was a bit of a breather for major PLM company announcements but there were signs of things to come. German reseller Mensch und Maschine (MuM) announced a strong end to 2013, with total revenue up 6%, led by VAR revenue growth of 6%. MuM is Autodesk’s largest reseller in Europe, so this could foreshadow Autodesk’s European results due; Autodesk reports on 26 February.
RAND Worldwide, a US software developer and reseller of Autodesk and other products, said that revenue was up 22% in its second quarter, “aided by a number of larger deals, including one particularly noteworthy sale to a customer in the Education market,” according to Lawrence Rychlak, president and CFO. Commission revenue, earned on the products Rand resells, was up 5%.
Geometric, the Indian maker of component and add-on technology such as CAMWorks, announced that December quarter revenue was up 10% over the year earlier, but down sequentially. CEO Manu Parpia said that “the unfortunate effect of the holiday period, combined with a decline in revenues from a large US based customer had a adverse impact on us this quarter. I am pleased to confirm that going forward we will resume our path to growth. We see a revival in demand and have seen an increase in pipeline for the second successive quarter.”
Finally, Dassault Systèmes has started the tender offer for Accelrys. Lots of paper has been filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. I’m wading through it; you can read it here.
It was also big week for AEC news, as Intergraph announced that it had acquired GT STRUDL and its developer core from the University of Georgia, and Trimble and Hexagon announced results for Q4 and fiscal 2013. Longer posts will follow later this week, but the main headlines are that Trimble’s Q4 revenue was up 16% to $599 million (you can just imagine the “there’s gotta be $1 million more in here somewhere” conversation around the conference table, can’t you?) on 23% growth in the engineering and construction business. Hexagon’s Q4 wasn’t as rosy, with revenue essentially flat as reported but up 5% on an organic/constant currency basis, driven by a recovery in the European construction sector and the continued strength of the oil and gas segment.
Staying on AEC for a moment longer, Bentley Systems was named Construction Computing’s ‘Company of the Year’. Bentley usually hosts a conference call about its results for the prior year right about now, so look for more news soon.
What Did You Get Your Valentine?
The Olympics have been a dud for PLMish tie-ins. We’ve still got the Ferrari-inspired bobsled to look forward to but the US speed skaters have abandoned the “skins” designed by Lockheed Martin because they weren’t winning medals.
Instead, 3D printing took center stage last week as homemade Valentines became all the rage. Stephen Holmes of D3D was unimpressed. (Warning: may be NSFW for some.)
Best Story of the Week
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you may know that I’m a space geek. It comes from growing up during the Apollo program, watching it all happen in real time, eating Space Food Sticks and drinking Tang. As an adult, I’ve toured the buildings at NASA in Florida and marveled at the primitive technology that sent human beings into space. Many of those buildings and launch pads are deteriorating fast, and it’s great to see that some are being recorded for posterity.
Finally, if you happen to be in London, there’s an awesome-sounding exhibit of NASA photos, For All Mankind: Vintage NASA Photographs 1964 – 1983. There’s a catalog here.
Look at those images, dream a little. Now have a great week!