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1 Mar, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

CAE consolidation; big years for big vendors.


CAE Combo: ANSYS Spends $565 Million to Acquire CFD Developer Fluent

CAE developer ANSYS will acquire Fluent, a developer specializing in CFD (computational fluid dynamics) software. ANSYS says the combination of its software products and services with Fluent's will create one of the most complete, independent engineering simulation software offerings in the industry.

 CFD analysis finds use in a variety of applications. British sledder Kristan Bromley turned to Fluent CFD tools to help his performance at the Winter Olympics in Torino, where he finished fifth in the skeleton competition. He wanted to determine skin friction characteristics of his skeleton suit in hopes of minimizing overall aerodynamic drag. A full-size mannequin on a skeleton sled was laser scanned, then overlaid with a CAD surface. This in turn was used to generate a mesh for the CFD analysis.
CFD analysis finds use in a variety of applications. British sledder Kristan Bromley turned to Fluent CFD tools to help his performance at the Winter Olympics in Torino, where he finished fifth in the skeleton competition. He wanted to determine skin friction characteristics of his skeleton suit in hopes of minimizing overall aerodynamic drag. A full-size mannequin on a skeleton sled was laser scanned, then overlaid with a CAD surface. This in turn was used to generate a mesh for the CFD analysis.

ANSYS has a history of acquisitions, but this one almost doubles the size of the company in terms of revenue: Fluent reported total sales of $121.9 million in 2005 (unaudited), and ANSYS closed 2005 with revenues of $158 million, up from $134.5 million in 2004.

With more than 40 direct sales offices and 17 development centers on three continents, the combined company will employ around 1,350 people.

ANSYS has some CFD products already in its lineup. In 2003, ANSYS acquired CFX, a CFD developer, for $21 million in cash, and in 2001, it bought CADOE, which developed CFD software as well as applications for structural, electromagnetic and acoustic analyses.

Market research firm Daratech has predicted sales of CFD simulation technology to experience an annual growth rate of 18% through 2009.

ANSYS reportedly will issue 6 million shares of its common stock and pay around $300 million in net cash to acquire Fluent, subject to certain adjustments at closing. The transaction is valued at about $565 million based on the $44.11 per share closing price of ANSYS common stock on February 15, 2006.

Intergraph Takes Over Alias, Developer of Popular ISOGEN 2D Piping Schematic Software

Intergraph acquired Alias Ltd., the developer of ISOGEN piping software, which provides automatic piping isometric drawing generation capability to the majority of 3D plant design and shipbuilding software users. Alias has OEM agreements with Intergraph, Bentley Systems, COADE and many other piping and plant software developers. AVEVA develops its own version of the ISOGEN tool.

ISOGEN generates 2D schematics (shown here in the I-View viewer) for most 3D plant design applications.
ISOGEN generates 2D schematics (shown here in the I-View viewer) for most 3D plant design applications.

Beyond ISOGEN, Alias' product line includes I-Sketch for generating individual isometrics and SPOOLGEN for generating fabrication spool drawings. Its most recent product, I-Route, automatically routes pipes within a 3D model based on cost-optimization techniques.

ISOGEN's broad reach and roster of partners had intensified concerns in recent years about the company's succession plan, or lack thereof. Now Alias will be owned by one of its customers—Alias and Intergraph have been OEM partners since 1993.

"We remain committed to the advancement of the Alias product portfolio and will continue to provide Alias's high level of support to both their customers and OEM partners," said Gerhard Sallinger, president of Intergraph's Process, Power & Marine Division. "Intergraph, Alias, its partners and, most important, its customers will benefit from this acquisition."

Tom Van Laan, PE, president of COADE, notes that COADE holds a multi-year agreement with Alias and that CAESAR II has long been the primary stress analysis tool interfacing with Intergraph's plant design products. "We are glad that we have been assured that the status quo will be maintained for the foreseeable future," he says.

Bentley Systems also has a long-term contract with Alias, according to Anne-Marie Walters, director of marketing for Bentley. One of Alias' larger customers, Bentley bundles ISOGEN with both its AutoPlant and PlantSpace products.

Autodesk buys Constructware

Autodesk has signed an agreement to acquire Constructware, developers of on-demand collaboration and project management software for construction and facilities management, for $46 million in cash. Autodesk will expand its Buzzsaw project management solution by integrating Constructware's cost, bid and risk management capabilities.

Based in Georgia, Constructware was founded in 1994 and counts more than 29,000 users. Its products include Constructware ASP and Constructware for the Subcontractor.

Autodesk notes that Constructware has "significant traction in the public sector among government and education organizations, which complements Buzzsaw's base of 137,000 users in home building and the retail and hospitality segments of the commercial real estate market.

CAD Heavyweights Report Robust Growth in 2005

UGS and Dassault Systèmes both recently released year-end earnings reports, and both recorded billion-dollar years and double-digit growth.

News Briefs
News Briefs

For 2005, its first full year as an independent company, UGS posted revenue of US$1.15 billion, an 18% increase over the previous year. UGS' big buy in 2005 was Tecnomatix Technologies, a developer of digital manufacturing software. That added US$68.4 million in overall revenue. Software sales amounted to $52.2 million of the revenue total. Growth in the fourth quarter was concentrated in Asia and the Americas.

UGS also cited successes among midsized businesses, which it is targeting with its Velocity Series of products. "Reaction to Velocity has been very, very strong," said UGS president and CEO Tony Affuso. UGS has added 20 new resellers in targeted areas for this market and seeks to have 100 onboard by the end of 2006.

Though UGS has touted wins in nontraditional markets such as consumer goods and pharmaceuticals, Affuso says the company's traditional markets—automotive, aerospace, high-tech and machinery—will continue to account for most sales.

He sees CAD software growth coming in two areas—suppliers picking up the high-end NX product, and increased Solid Edge sales through the Velocity program.

Affuso also expects the PLM landscape to be interesting this year in light of IBM's recent partnership with PTC. "IBM has left Dassault," he noted. "We've always considered IBM to be Dassault's strongest asset."

For its part, Dassault Systèmes reported total revenue of EUR 934.5 million (about US$1.12 billion) for 2005, up 18% from the previous year (16% excluding acquisitions). Last year Dassault acquired ABAQUS, whose technology now appears in Dassault's SIMULIA digital simulation offering.

Dassault's PDM products ENOVIA and SMARTEAM attracted more than 1,000 new customers and delivered 20% revenue growth. SolidWorks revenue grew by 25%, to about US$227 million) as its user base approached half a million.

CATIA licenses increased by 6% to 34,798 in 2005, compared with 32,695 in 2004. SolidWorks seats increased 25% to 37,280 seats in 2005.

Dassault president and CEO Bernard Charles dismissed any concerns that IBM and Dassault are parting ways, noting that IBM recently confirmed the strategic nature of their partnership. The announcement that IBM will sell PTC's Windchill PLM product in China, as well as to certain industries, came from PTC, not IBM, he says, and is "not aligned with what the field operations may be."

Both Dassault and UGS laid claim to a win with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The program will deploy UGS Teamcenter 2005 to manage product data, but use Dassault's CATIA V5 for design and DELMIA in manufacturing.


About the Author: Sara Ferris





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