Christchurch-based business to be sold for $1.45b

Seequent software is used on large-scale projects globally. Photo: Supplied
Seequent software is used on large-scale projects globally. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch-based company Seequent, known for earth modelling software among other things, has been snapped up by Nasdaq-listed engineering software company Bentley Systems for US$1.05 billion ($1.45b).

The acquisition, subject to New Zealand Overseas Investment Office approval, would see the company continue to operate as a standalone business unit within Bentley.

Seequent is a New Zealand success story, having grown from one employee in 2004 to 173 New Zealand staff and a total of 430 globally today.

Founder and CEO Shaun Maloney is retiring as part of the acquisition, with current chief operating officer Graham Grant becoming the main report to its new parent.

Seequent is 75 per cent owned by US private investor Accel-KKR Capital Partners following a reported $100m equity raising deal in 2018. Wellington-based Pencarrow Private Equity holds a 9 per cent stake with Maloney retaining 3.5 per cent.

Seequent's headquarters and main R&D centre will remain in Christchurch following the completion of this transaction.

"For my Seequent colleagues, I am confident that the future is in safe hands with like-minded Bentley Systems and our COO Graham Grant, so this presents a timely moment for me to announce my planned retirement," Maloney said in a statement.

"For all, our new larger scope presents a great opportunity for shared advancement."

Bentley chief financial officer David Hollister said the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

"We expect Seequent to contribute in excess of US$80m to our ARR [annualised revenue] during this year. Seequent impressively has a historical and current organic revenue growth rate which, coupled with an operating margin profile similar to ours, makes Seequent accretive to our financial model."

Seequent software is used on large-scale projects globally, including road and rail tunnel construction, groundwater detection and management, geothermal exploration, subsea infrastructure mapping, resource evaluation and subterranean storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Seequent's global footprint includes a network of offices across Asia/Pacific, Africa, South America, North America and Europe servicing blue chip companies and customers with leading subsurface solutions in more than 100 countries.