The Bentley Systems State of the Union 2012

Officially, Bentley's unnofficial earnings call (since it's not a public company) is titled an Annual Corporate Update Conference Call. This was the second one, though the company has offered an annual recap for more years than that.


Let's start with the numbers. CEO Greg Bentley shared that revenue growth was up 10% to a record $523 million for 2011. Asia contributed 19% of that, up from 16% in 2010. Software subscriptions accounted for 72% of revenues.

In general, explained, building and plant revenues were up since they are typically privately funded. Geospatial and construction revenues were down, since they are publicly funded. Still, the company has weathered the economic storm and expects 6% organic growth in 2012. The products that drove growth in 2011 include: ProjectWise, STAAD, Bentley Map, ProSteel and AutoPLANT.

Bentley holds its rank as #2 in AEC behind Autodesk, which had $626 million in revenues last year. Bentley had record research and development and acquistion spending in 2011 of more than $1 billion. the company has been repurchasing stock, some of which was Intergaph's and that of the equity firm that acquired Intergraph before selling it to Hexagon. Now the Bentley family and eployees own 92% of the stock. Bentley has been redo-ing its financing and now has a credit line of $350 million at a low cost of about 3%.

Subscriptions are a success story. Subscriber levels are now back up where they were before the downturn and last year's Portfolio Balancing program, which allows subscribers to swap seats for what's in need at any time, has been popular. Enterprise License Subscriptions are also popular and serve 29 emmber of the ENR top 50 and 21 of the Bentley Infrastructure 100.

Bentley Learn, the company's on-demand learning has revenues up 36% and has overtaken the revenue lead from "ad hoc" education.

The big news is the growth in China. Last year Greg Bentley reported doubled growth in three years in China. This year that time frame is down to two years. Bentley also detailed an enterprise impelementation with the London area Crossrail high frenquency train network.

The company did announce an acquitision: elco Systems of Germany. The company specializes in electric sector offerings and will now lead the company's electric portolio.

Q &A 

There really were no specific questions related to geosptial, but these were the interesting more general ones. Questions and answers are paraphrased.

Q: How are point clouds and PoinTools (acquired last year) doing?
A: A new release of ProjectWise sill support streaming point clouds. Soon, point clouds will be treated like any other data type. [It's worthy noting that the term LiDAR did not come up.]

Q: Cloud?
A: We are working with Micrsoft on an Azure-based solution for transmittals.

Q: What other geographies beside China are hot?
A: BRIC countries, Middle East, Africa, Chile (where the company has its latest direct operations offie, its 50th country to have one), Southeast Asia... anywhere extractive resource reside.

Published Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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