Two vendors, Assystem and Semcon, have put on hold their financial guidance for 2020. This is only the beginning.
Since we published our last note on the impact of Covid-19 on ER&D spending, the situation has changed with Covid-19, having now spread to Europe and soon the US. Already, The European Central Bank is predicting a GDP decline of 5% in 2020, based on the impact of three months of confinement.
Despite the stock market melt-down, ER&D vendors have continued to make tuck-in acquisitions in the past two weeks. The acquired firms were of small size and not likely to impact the net debt of their new owners. However, should the Covid-19-China-US trade-war-Stock Markets meltdown-oil price crisis degenerate into a recession, we expect suck tuck-in acquisitions to become scarce.
Akka has launched a mandatory offer for Data Respons (DR) that will provide shareholders the opportunity to sell their DR shares. The company has been active on the stock markets since the end of its tender offer on February 13, raising its stake from 72.9% to 78.1%. Akka is hoping to reach 95% of shares and launch a squeeze-out offer later one.
Karthik Natarajan, the former head of Tech Mahindra’s Integrated Engineering Services (IES), has joined Cyient as COO. We think, the appointment of Mr. Natarajan is a welcome move for Cyient, which has faced growth challenges in the past quarters, resulting from its client concentration and its exposure to Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.
eeva is a Wall Street darling with an eye-popping market cap of $21bn. The uniqueness of Veeva is that its SaaS applications run on top of Salesforce’s Clouds. This approach positions Veeva in the high-growth ecosystem of Salesforce (which grows by 20-25% each year).
The US Federal Reserve yesterday lowered “the target range for the federal funds” by 50 bps to 1%-1.25%. Although the “fundamentals of the US economy remain strong,” “the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” communicated the Fed.
Currently, Covid-19 has only affected China significantly, although having spread in South Korea, Japan, and Northern Italy.
Several ER&D vendors have been impacted so far: Ricardo has warned that the situation in the Chinese automotive market would have a “material” effect on its profit.
Bertrandt had a soft quarter in Q1 FY20 (corresponding to calendar Q4 2019): revenues were flat (+0.4%) to EUR 263m, impacted by project delays, and reduced utilization rates in its Digital Engineering (DE) unit (-3.0%). DE, Bertrandt’s largest unit (55% of revenues), suffered from Germany OEMs shifting their R&D spending to digital.
Altran’s organic growth slowed down to +3.3% yoy in Q4. The company suffered from two main effects: Brexit delaying decision-making in the UK and deteriorating market conditions in the German automotive market. As a result, Altran’s North Europe and Central Europe business units were down by respectively 9.6% and 8.4% yoy in Q4.
After its unexpected revenue growth slowdown in Q4, Akka suffered from a disappointing result: it secured only 64% of the shares of Data Repons. Akka has received regulatory clearance from the German cartel office authority, so now has control over Data Response.
Alten’s revenues in Q4 slowed down to a growth of +7.3% yoy (at CC/CS ), following double-digit CC/CS growth during Q1-Q3 2019. The company suffered from a demanding comparison basis (+13.7% in Q4 2018), and one lesser working day in several countries (a 0.15% impact on the group’s revenues).
Tech Mahindra made a surprise move in semiconductor engineering services. The company is to acquire Cerium Systems, a Bangalore-based semiconductor design and embedded systems specialist. Cerium has a headcount of 840 and revenues of ~USD 15m in FY19 (ending
Capgemini has succeeded with its offer to purchase Altran. The company has secured 53.4% of Altran’s capital. According to France’s financial market’s authority, Capgemini will reopen the tend offer from January 28 to February 10.
The industry loves to talk about convergence, especially between ER&D and IT services. As an industry analyst, I must say that I have never seen such porosity between IT service and ER&D services vendors.
LLTS’ revenue growth in Q3 FY20 decelerated from 11.9% at CC in Q2 to +7.5% in Q3. The company was hit by a deteriorating situation in its Telecom & High-Tech (-26%), which was impacted by the ramp-down of two clients in its Semiconductor sub-vertical that represents (we estimate) 40% of its Telecom & High-Tech sector. LTTS, also, had flat growth (+2%) in its Industrial Products, with large accounts reducing their spend.
Oncodesign has restructured its business into three distinct business units (BU): Service, Biotech, and AI. Each BU will have its own objectives and delivery organization.
Wipro announced a mild growth in the revenues of its Industrial and Engineering (I&E) business unit in Q3 FY20: I&E revenues were up by 3.1% only (to USD 151m). Revenues included a small contribution from the recent ITI acquisition and were impacted by the market conditions in the semiconductor industry and softness in 5G adoption.