By the Numbers - 2005 First Half Business News

By Joe Francica

This week, we present a financial review of the publicly traded companies in the location technology sector.As a barometer on the industry, we'll look at nine companies that are more or less "pure plays" in this sector.In other words, their primary business is providing software, data or services for digital mapping or geospatial analysis.We will also review some of the significant announcements during the past six months.To begin, Figure 1 below provides the monthly stock prices from the beginning of the year until July 11th.Table 1 shows the corresponding change in stock value over the same period.

Figure 1

Company Name
Change from January
MacDonald Dettwiler
Tele Atlas
Table 1

Autodesk Inc.(ADSK) After a large run-up last year with an accompanying stock split, the company saw its stock rise just 5% during the first half of this year.Key news this half included acquisition of c-plan AG, a German company with key customers in Europe and worth approximately US$18 Million.The acquisition closed July 6th. The most interesting indicator of Autodesk's growth is the increase in new software licenses.According to their first quarter 2005 financial statement, "revenues from new seats increased 22 percent over the prior year.Revenues from new seats of AutoCAD increased 26 percent over the prior year."
@Road Inc. (ARDI) @Road, a company that provides a variety of integrated wireless communications, location technologies and hosted software applications, lost 54% of its value but continued its strategy of acquisition.During the first quarter it completed the acquisition of Vidus, a provider of field service automation solutions.The company appointed Michael Martini chief financial officer on June 20th.
Garmin Ltd.(GRM) Garmin lost 14% of its value and was downgraded on July 11th by William Blair from "outperform" to "market perform" and from "buy" to "hold" by Needham and Company in April.To bolster its image, the company hired NBA basketball star Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets to appear in TV commercials for its GPS products.
Intergraph Corporation (INGR) Intergraph's realignment of operations, announced at their Geospatial World User Group meeting in April, sat well with investors as the company's stock price continued to surge.Up 37% for the first half of the year, the company also announced numerous customer wins.Its reorganization paired the companies four divisions to two: Process, Power & Marine (PP&M) and Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I).Intergraph's SG&I division. In the first quarter, the company also reported that its income from intellectual property settlements totaled $128 Million.
MapInfo Corporation (MAPS) MapInfo was non-performer this first half losing 1% of its value and essentially ending where it started.But the company had also seen a surge in its stock price to $13 per share in March, just after its announcement that it had acquired GeoBusiness Solutions Ltd., a UK-based company with experience in retail site selection.In addition, the company acquired MarkeTech Systems, a North Carolina company in the retail banking sector, for $5.7 Million in cash.Even though the company announced in April that net income skyrocketed 129% for its year over year second quarter result, the stock price continued its slide.
MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA.TO) MDA rose a solid 25% during this period and recently announced that it has been awarded a contract from the U.S.Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to "examine technology options for in-space manufacturing and assembly of a very large optical sensor surface and structure outside the confines of Earth's gravity," according to the press release.
NAVTEQ Corporation (NVT) NAVTEQ's share price slide 16% during the period, probably the result of profit taking after the stock's run up during 2004 after it's initial public offering last year.The company continues to make a series of announcements regarding the release of digital street files, in particular in international markets, to augment its data warehouse. In addition, it just recently announced the acquisition of PMI, a South Korean digital map producer for vehicle navigation, for $28 Million.As an indication that growth will continue at NAVTEQ, the company reported substantial growth in the adoption rate of in-vehicle navigation systems.In 2004, twenty-nine new car models in North America offered systems as an optional feature bringing the adoption rate to 37% of all vehicles offered for sale.
Tele Atlas (TATL.DE) Tele Atlas, going in the opposite direction of its rival, NAVTEQ, spiked 54% in the first half.In January, Tele Atlas added key people to its management team: Bruce D.Radloff as Chief Technology Officer and Michael J.Mitsock as Chief Marketing Officer.Each reports to President and Chief Operating Officer George Fink.In February, the company announced a joint venture with SIS to acquire digital map data in China.To improve its competitiveness in the mobile navigation market, the company announced a partnership with Wayfinder and ScanSoft to provide speech-enabled mobile devices.
Trimble Navigation Ltd.(TRMB) Trimble rose 23% for the first half of the year, that included a key announcement to provide sub-foot accuracy on its Pathfinder ProXH Receiver. Trimble has hooked up with Backpacker Magazine to provide editors with GPS-enable Nextel phones so that writers can share their experiences through online journals that include location-based content.

Other financial news of interest:

  • Digital Map Products (DMP) completed a $3 Million Series C Financing on July 11th. DMP provides map-enabled software applications and next-generation GIS.
  • Telcontar secured $10.6 Million in venture funding on March 21st and added Jeff Crowe of Norwest Venture Partners to its board of directors.
  • WaveMarket secured $9.4 Million Series B funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Published Thursday, July 14th, 2005

Written by Joe Francica

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