Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Schneider Electric Takes Control of Aveva in Software Push

Updated on

Schneider Electric SE agreed to take control of Aveva Group Plc by combining the companies’ industrial software units and creating a business that helps design and operate engineering projects from nuclear power plants to diesel engines.

French manufacturer Schneider will own 53.5 percent of the enlarged entity, the two companies said in a statement Monday. Britain’s Aveva will receive 550 million pounds ($858 million) from Schneider and in return issue new shares to the French company. Aveva rose as much as 32 percent in London trading, the most in almost nine years.

The deal is the second acquisition of a British software company by Schneider after the 2.4 billion-pound purchase of Invensys Plc in 2013, as it adds technologies to its plant automation products and low- and medium-voltage equipment. Aveva’s software is used in more than 3,000 major global engineering projects, ranging from data management at the Paks Nuclear Plant in Hungary to 3D modelling of new diesel machines for German truckmaker MAN SE.

“There is considerable strategic logic to the deal,” said RBC Capital Markets Andrew Carter, adding that the combination of Aveva’s plant design software with Invensys’s control systems used by chemicals makers, oil refineries, and mining companies will allow Schneider to target a wider range of clients.

The acquisitions of Invensys and Aveva are two of Schneider’s biggest takeovers since the $6.1 billion purchase of American Power Conversion Corp. in 2006 as it looks to fend off competition from companies such as ABB Ltd. of Switzerland.

Share Surge

The new Aveva shares to be issued to Schneider have a market value of 1.3 billion pounds. The market value of Cambridge, England-based Aveva as of Friday’s close was 1.1 billion pounds.

Today, Aveva gained as much as 572 pence to 2,344 pence in London, and was up 29 percent as of 11:01 a.m. Schneider added as much as 0.9 percent in Paris.

Aveva is one of Britain’s digital-age success stories, also including chipmakers CSR Plc and ARM Holdings Plc, that have their origins in Cambridge, home of the university that produced scientists from Charles Darwin to Stephen Hawking. Aveva, which was developed in a government-funded computer center in 1967, introduced the world’s first 3D plant design system in 1976.

Cost Cuts

The new software entity will have combined sales of about 534 million pounds with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 130 million pounds. Aveva’s board of directors will remain in place on completion of the deal, with two additional non-executive directors proposed by Schneider, the companies said.

It’s too early to quantify how much the companies will be able to save in costs as a result of the deal, Aveva CEO Richard Longdon said on a conference call.

There is no exclusivity agreement nor break-up fee as the agreement is non-binding, he said, adding that “there was no other offer for a takeover of the company to consider.” Aveva predicts to conclude the transaction by the end of this year or early next year. Aveva is advised by Lazard & Co. Ltd, while Schneider is advised by Morgan Stanley and Ondra Partners.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE