Accenture made a big move with the acquisition of Umlaut, an ER&D vendor headquartered in Germany. The transaction comes as a surprise: umlaut brings EUR 350m in revenues. It is the first sizable acquisition that Accenture made for Industry X. Up to now
ER&D vendors continue to be very active in M&As, with many tuck-in acquisitions. AFRY is now in full acquisition mode with six transactions in 2021 YTD. Competitor Sweco has also accelerated with four transactions. Accenture has made an unusual transaction by taking over a manufacturer of industrial automation and robots in Brazil for Accenture Industry X. Finally, Cognizant acquired a significant German automotive ER&D vendor, ESG.
Akka Technologies made a significant shift in its US strategy with the appointment of Dharam Sheoran. Mr. Sheroan joined from Wipro and must have been an ideal candidate for Akka. At Wipro, he headed several global service lines, including automotive and A&D. His experience, therefore, matches Akka’s presence and ambitions in the country.
French ER&D service vendor, Segula Technologies, acquired the automotive unit of Safran Engineering Services in Valladolid, Spain. The acquired unit is small (with a headcount of 81 engineers). It mostly services Renault.
Unsurprisingly, DXC Technology turned down Atos’ offer to acquire the firm. DXC considered it, USD 10bn, as reported by Reuters, as too low. The company considers it is going through a turn-around. Also, 16 months into the job, DXC’s CEO, Mike Salvino, believed it was too early to sell the Tysons, VA-based firm.
Following a Reuters news release, European IT services vendor Atos confirmed it had submitted to the Board of DXC an unsolicited non-binding offer to acquire the firm. The offer is at a preliminary stage. Reuters estimated Atos’ offer to USD 10bn.
Akka’s share was up by almost 40% on Tuesday (October 6). The company reassured investors by raising EUR 200 at favorable terms for existing shareholders
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Ricardo paid the price for its exposure to the automotive sector, which represents 55% of total revenues. After a stable H1 FY20 (the ending June 30, 2020), H2 collapsed with revenues down 23% at cc/cs (our estimate). Surprisingly, Ricardo performed worse than an automotive pure-play such as EDAG (-14.8% during the same period) and Akka (-20.3% at cc/cs).
Bertrandt reported its Q3 FY20 results (calendar Q2 2020). Revenues were EUR 205m, down by a massive-20.9% yoy, and the EBIT margin was -0.9% (Q3 FY19: +2.7%). Yet, Bertrandt’s results were better than those of EDAG ( yoy revenues down by 32.6%) and Akka (-31.4% yoy at CC/CS).
We were expecting EDAG would have a difficult Q2, as the company is very European and services mostly the automotive sector. However, we had not anticipated a decline of this scale: revenues were down by 32.6% in Q2. Unsurprisingly, the EBIT margin was significantly in negative territory (-14.4%).
Alten announced better than expected revenues in Q2 with a CC/CS decline of 18.4% (we expected -23%), after a growth of 4.0% in Q1. During H1, the decline was 7.3% (guidance: -9%).
Revenues Collapsed in H1 2020 Akka suffered greatly in H1 2020, with revenues down by 20.3%
According to unofficial sources, Renault has now finalized its list of preferred ER&D service vendors, reducing it from nine vendors to four. The four winners are Akka, Bertrandt, Expleo, and Segula. They will now grab 80% of Renault’s ER&D spending and double their market shares.
ER&D’s largest pure-play globally, Alten, will be announcing its Q2 2020 revenue by the end of July. The company had a very decent Q1, with a 4% CC/CS revenue growth. However, it warned that revenues would be down by ~22% in Q2.
We just learned that Expleo has a new CEO, Rajesh Krishnamurthy. On paper, Mr. Krishnamurthy, has everything right for Expleo. He is a French citizen of Indian origin. He has held senior roles at Infosys, including one as head of the Energy, Utilities, and Telco division, a major responsibility as Infosys is organized by vertical. He also led Infosys Global Consulting.
Ricardo divested, as expected, its engine testing and prototype facility in Belleville, MI. The company had looked for a buyer for more than one year and even bought the property to make the sale of the facility easier.
Renault is considering R&D outsourcing to save EUR 100-200m annually. The company currently works with approximately 15 ER&D vendors and wants to reduce its number of preferred partners to five.
Dassault Systems lowered it Q1 2020: the company is now expecting revenue growth in the range of 14%-17%, down from a 20-23% guidance (that includes the acquisition of Medidata). The company has suffered from weaker than expected new license and services revenues. Meanwhile, revenues of Medidata were on a “momentum and license renewals were up too.
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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.
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.