No post-recession bounce for Idox EIM

McLaren SoftwareMcLaren-logo, the engineering information management (EIM) division of Berkshire, UK-based Idox plc, had a fairly flat financial performance in the year to 31 October 2014, according to Idox’s annual report and accounts published last month. McLaren’s EIM division is best-known in this blog as the provider of FusionLive (formerly CTSpace and, before that, BuildOnline – among several other brands), acquired from Sword by Idox in November 2011 (post).

Idox chairman Martin Brooks’s statement  notes EIM “only saw marginal growth in a challenging year in its global markets,” and “we have been challenged again by a fall in activity in the Oil & Gas sector”. CEO Richard Kellett-Clarke said the EIM division’s focus in 2014 had been on customer care and delivery of solutions, while the sales focus had shifted more towards the USA and an attempt to expand in infrastructure and utilities. EIM revenues grew 1% to £19.5m (2013: £19.2m), with 52% generated in the US (2013: 46%). The level of recurring revenues in the EIM business from maintenance and Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) were 49% (2013: 51%; no further information was given on the breakdown between maintenance and SaaS). Nonetheless, it remains profitable; EBITDA for the EIM division was flat at £4.4m (2013: £4.4m), with margins held at 23%.

The financial year also saw CEO Paul Muir exiting the business amid various personnel changes at McLaren (see my May 2014 blog post). It has sought to become more responsive to customers and focus on three key markets: on-premise engineering document management, Software-as-a-Service construction project collaboration, and facilities management (it acquired CAFM vendor, FMx, in October 2012).

But while other businesses in the SaaS construction sector have been enjoying post-recession double-digit growth – Conject UK reported 16% growth (September 2014); 4Projects reported 12% growth (October 2014) – it seems McLaren’s mixed portfolio of on-premise and SaaS solutions covering a more disparate range of markets has led to it falling even further behind. The energy also appears to have disappeared from McLaren’s BIM push: barely a mention of its BIM capabilities since October 2013.

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