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Bentley drives up mining software values with $1B Seequent deal

The stocks of leading, remaining independent mining information technology specialists continue to rise, with Bentley Systems’ proposed US$1.05 billion acquisition of New Zealand-based geoscience software firm Seequent setting a new pricing benchmark for the sector.
Bentley drives up mining software values with $1B Seequent deal Bentley drives up mining software values with $1B Seequent deal Bentley drives up mining software values with $1B Seequent deal Bentley drives up mining software values with $1B Seequent deal Bentley drives up mining software values with $1B Seequent deal

Outgoing Seequent CEO Shaun Maloney

A number of investment firms contacted by Mining-Journal.com in the wake of Bentley's announcement that it would pay $900 million cash and about $150 million of equity for Seequent suggested the high price underlined the rising value of quality firms exposed to mining, and the perceived expansion of mining IT spending to address technical challenges and enable better cross-discipline collaboration at a time of increasing emphasis on ‘smarter' mining through digitalisation and automation.

The mining IT deal-value escalator has been gathering speed since the likes of ABB, Schneider Electric, Dassault Systemes and Hexagon, and also Caterpillar, Komatsu and Hitachi, waded into the market ahead of and during the last major mining boom in the 2000s prepared to pay big dollars for market position and technology.

Seequent started life in Christchurch as ARANZ Geo in the early 2000s and grew on the back of core modelling software Leapfrog's penetration into mineral exploration and mine development. Seequent, with private equity funding from Accel-KKR, has expanded in the geothermal and renewable energy, civil engineering, and environmental management markets, but continues to grow in mining.

It has about 170 employees in New Zealand and 430 worldwide.

US-based Bentley (Nasdaq: BSY) also services mining and metals, construction, utilities, energy and transport markets, and says Seequent will add about 10% to its circa $800 million-a-year revenues and its EBITDA.

Seequent was expected to be "measurably accretive to Bentley's organic growth rate".

"Most significantly, the combination will deepen the potential of infrastructure digital twins to help understand and mitigate environmental risks, advancing resilience and sustainability," Bentley said in a statement.

Seequent CEO Shaun Maloney is retiring and chief operating officer Graham Grant is taking over what is expected to remain as a "standalone Bentley subsidiary".