Autodesk Hits $1 Billion in 2004

By Adena Schutzberg

Autodesk announced Q4 revenues, along with year end numbers for 2004 last Tuesday.Net income for the quarter grew to $66 million from $58 million, a year ago.The company earned $75 million, or 30 cents per share, in Q4 (excluding a $12 million pretax restructuring charge).Sales rose 21 percent to $356 million from $295 million last year.Fourth-quarter revenue from new commercial seats increased 46 percent over the prior year.For the full year, Autodesk reported earnings of $222 million up from $120 million, a year ago.Overall sales growth was 30% for the year.That means Autodesk hit its long standing goal of generating $1 billion.The actual figure is $1.234 billion, according to the company's SEC filings.

Over in the Infrastructure Solutions Division, numbers were up.Revenue was up just 6% over last year, but 20% over last quarter, to $40 million.Autodesk launched Civil 3D last quarter (thought it'd been discussed for nearly a year before that).The French National Railway Authority was one big buyer, picking up 300 seats on subscription.Map 3D saw revenue from new seats jump 20% over last quarter.First Energy contracted for more than $2.5 million for Map 3D and Autodesk Consulting services to update its system for energy delivery.The division saw full year growth revenue rise 22% to $141 million.In March users can expect Map3D 2006 and Civil 3D 2006.

Before turning the conference call over to question, CEO Carol Bartz noted that customer demand is strong due to the company's great solutions.She took pride in being "one of few software companies" making significant revenue from new seats.Next month she noted, the company would release its strongest portfolio ever.The 2002 product family will be retired in Q4, giving investors a reason to cheer: the current installed base for 2002 is larger than that holding 2000i last year, when it was "obitted." The retirement will be another chance for Bentley to look for new seats of its own.Bartz final remark was on 3D.It was "gaining traction" but still had low penetration in the installed base (10-15% depending on the division), meaning more opportunity.

Subscription numbers and subscription revenue seem to be growing.At the end of the year total subscribers numbered more than 600,000, ahead of the goal.While vertical application subscriptions (Map, Civil, Inventor, etc.) outpaced AutoCAD numbers, AutoCAD subscriptions are "catching up" explained Carl Bass, COO and heir apparent to Bartz.

One analyst requested information on where the new seats were "coming from." The general answer was they are mostly from small local competitors rather than bigger ones.Manufacturing was a bit different, and there was no mention of GIS competitors in particular.The new seats often stem from organizations who had "never been an Autodesk customer" especially in sales of Civil3D, Inventor and Revit.

The idea that there are that many new seats to be had surprises me, but I suppose across all disciplines, they do add up.Interestingly, the move from 2D to 3D was described not an educational issue, but as a change to users implementing 3D "in addition to 2D." It's not clear how that plays out in GIS, but perhaps the upcoming 2006 product line will help illustrate when and how 3D might be used along with traditional 2D GIS projects.

The large pile of money Autodesk now (about a half a billion according to one source) has in the bank has led to speculation that it may be time for a serious acquisition.While one CAD watcher suggests the target may be privately held UGS (which serves the mechanical design and product lifecycle management space with big customers like General Motors), another chooses not to speculate.I've not heard of any suggest GIS targets.

Published Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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