IBM PLM acquisition gives Dassault Systèmes a live-cat bounce in 2010

SolidWorks remains strong, and Catia sales are steady. There’s more than $1 billion in the bank.

[Editor’s Note: the Euros to US Dollars exchange rate used in this article is €1 = $1.37.]

It was a pretty good fourth quarter and fiscal year for Dassault Systèmes, (EPA: DSY) aided by the revenue boost it received from the acquisition of IBM PLM Services in March 2010. As with others in its peer group, the bounce-back from 2009 propelled the company beyond its 2008 results. If flat sales are a dead-cat bounce, call Dassault’s results a live-cat bounce.

Fourth quarter results

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2010 (ended December 31, 2010) was €462.7 million ($632.1.million). Software revenue was €418.2 million ($571.2 million), while services revenue was €44.5 million ($60.8 million).

Breaking software revenue down further, PLM software (Catia, Enovia, Simulia, Delmia) was €335.4 million ($458.2 million), up 34% from 4Q ’09 in constant currencies; Mainstream 3D revenue (SolidWorks, 3Dvia) was €82.8 million ($113.1 million), up 22% in constant currencies from a year earlier.

By geographic regions in 4Q10, Americas revenue was €132.3 million ($180.7 million), up 18% in constant currencies; Europe, Middle East & Africa revenue was €215.3 million ($294.1 million), up 33% in constant currencies; Asia revenue was €115.1 million ($157.2 million), up 36% in constant currencies.

Full year results

Dassault’s revenue was €1.56 billion ($2.13 billion), up 20% in constant currencies for fiscal 2010 (January 1 – December 31, 2010). Software revenue for the year was €1.41 billion ($1.92 billion), up 23% in constant currencies. Services and other revenues were €152 million ($208 million) up 3% in constant currencies.

Dassault says recurring software revenue (maintenance) in 2010 was 72% of total software revenue, down 1% from 2009. SolidWorks sold 42,205 new commercial seats in 2010, up 18% from 2009. Total educational seats of SolidWorks topped 1 million during the year.

Cash per share on December 31, 2010 was $13.10, up considerably from $10.83 three months earlier. Dassault’ cash holdings still top $1 billion. The company could easily afford another acquisition the size of IBM PLM ($600 million).

What we think

The importance of the IBM PLM acquisition can’t be underestimated. In 2010 revenue growth would have been up 13% instead of the 23% (in constant currencies) as reported. The contribution of Catia to overall sales is up around 3%, again due to the acquisition and not a generic uptick in Catia units.

Dassault confirms what other PLM vendors have been saying, that Japan Inc. is buying software again. After many down years, Dassault’s PLM revenues from Japan have increased in 2010.

This week a London-based stock analyst suggested Dassault might be interested in acquiring AVEVA (LON:AVV), the Cambridge UK-based plant and marine design and management software specialist. It would be a billion-plus deal, but we have our doubts it will ever happen. Dassault likes acquisitions it can tweak to blend with the existing portfolio. AVEVA software is based on a robust database that would rival Enovia. Such a deal would jumpstart Dassault’s intentions to be a player in AEC, but the price would be high in more than just cash paid.

Ten of our exclusive charts follow.

JPR Contributing Analyst L. Stephen Wolfe P.E. contributed research for this article.