Siemens invests $130 million in Bentley Systems, pre-IPO

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The new Siemens AG headquarters is seen in Munich, Germany, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

Siemens, the Germany-based electronics giant whose Medical Solutions unit has offices in Malvern, says it is investing at least $54 million in developing joint software with Bentley Systems, the $600 million (yearly sales), Exton-based construction software firm. 

Siemens will also pay about $76 million for a minority stake in Bentley common stock, "under a company program that will continue until such time as Bentley Systems’ stock is publicly traded."

Bentley filed for an initial public stock offering (IPO) last year but has delayed selling shares to the public until software company prices improve.  Bentley is run by CEO Greg Bentley, who founded the firm in 1984 with his four brothers.  

The two companies say they have drawn up a "strategic alliance agreement" to build systems that will speed industrial design and facilities construction. According to a joint statement, "This work will uniquely leverage new cloud services for a connected data environment to converge respective digital engineering models from both companies."

Bentley employs 3,000 worldwide, including 500 engineers, sales and tech professionals work in the Philadelphia area: at the firm's Exton headquarters, Center City engineering office and working from home, spokesman Chris Barron told me.

Bentley began developing cloud-based software in 2012. Its Bentley Connect design products, using Microsoft Azure for cloud services, helps industrial and construction clients collaborate securely from multiple locations. 

The firm has worked closely with Siemens for years,  Greg Bentley said in a statement.  For example, Siemens Process Simulate, a software platform that helps manufactures plan and improve production lines, uses Bentley’s reality modeling software. Clients include Turnkey Manufacturing Systems (TMS), an Austria-based automotive-production systems maker owned by Canada's Valiant Group. 

Siemens says "virtually all Siemens divisions," including Energy Management, Power Generation, Building Technology, and Mobility, will now use Bentley software to collect application information  "for design modeling, analytical modeling, construction modeling and asset performance modeling."  

“This move further extends our industry software ecosystem from 2D to 3D software solutions, " Siemens managing board member Klaus Helmrich said in a statement. "We’re rigorously executing our ‘digital twin’ vision from virtual planning to the real product." Helmrich added that Bentley Systems’ "independence, track record in interoperability and leadership in engineering- and design-software make them our ideal partner.”