Hexagon ups the ante – announces deals in mining & geosystems

Jan 8, 2020 | Hot Topics

Altair started the year with an acquisition but we have to give props to Hexagon for the pace of their deals: closing one deal from 2019 and two brand new ones today.

First the new news. Hexagon is acquiring Blast Movement Technology (BMT), maker of monitoring technology and analysis for open pit mines. Miners will discover a vein of ore, and blast away surrounding material to make it simpler to extract. BMT’s solution collects data from sensors that move with the blasted material. BMT’s algorithms then calculate things like the post-blast location of ore and precise dig lines based on the measured movement.

BMT currently supports 100 customer sites mining nine commodities in nearly 40 countries. Sales in 2019 were €19 million. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

I live in an area of the US where there is little (no?) mining but attended a sub-conference on mining a couple of years ago. It’s far more technical and data-driven than I had realized, and the days of randomly setting off charges to see what can be found are long gone — a movie stereotype that’s simply not true. Using sensors, ground-penetrating radar, and advanced modeling techniques enable miners to operate more safely and profitably.

Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén adds, “Today’s acquisition of BMT is a powerful addition to our Smart Mine portfolio, further closing the drill and blast loop for our customers, and ultimately, improving their ability to measure, manage and improve mining operations from pit to plant.”

Next, Geopraevent, which makes monitoring and alarm systems for early detection and warning of landslides, rockfalls, and avalanches. Geopraevent’s turnkey systems use sensors such as radar, webcams and cameras, and measuring technologies and software to detect these natural hazards. Then, algorithms evaluate this data in real time to detect critical trends and, when indicated, launch alarms and other actions.

I don’t know if these are Geopraevent solutions, but my mind immediately went to the warning systems put in place in the Pacific Rim after the devastating tsunami in Japan in 2011. Those combine earthquake sensors, cameras and other sensors that trigger sirens and other alerts in case of potential danger. Geopraevent says it has nearly 100 live systems in operation, serving governments and private infrastructure operators in transportation, public safety, tourism, mining and energy.

About this deal, Mr. Rollén said, “Natural hazard monitoring improves the safety of roads and railways, especially when traditional constructive measures like tunnels or dams aren’t feasible … By combining [Geopraevent’s] domain knowledge – along with its proven technologies and services – with Hexagon’s global footprint and complementary solutions, we can offer more customers the early detection and warning systems necessary for protecting human lives.”

Geopraevent is also fully consolidated as of today. Hexagon says that the acquisition will have no significant impact on Hexagon’s earnings.

Finally, Hexagon says it completed the acquisition of Volume Graphics, a deal announced in November (my writeup). Quick recap: Volume Graphics makes industrial computed tomography (CT) software and had revenue of €26 million in 2019.

In total, Hexagon said, the three deals will have a negative impact of €25 million on its fourth quarter 2019 earnings statement to cover one-off items related to overlapping technologies, and transaction and integration costs.

We should learn more about all of this when Hexagon announce its 2019 results on 5 February.