Software chief moves to stop rumours of financial difficulty

Process industry software supplier Aspentech moved to quash rumours of financial ill-health and set out a bold strategy for...

Process industry software supplier Aspentech moved to quash rumours of financial ill-health and set out a bold strategy for future growth at its Aspenworld user conference in Washington this week.

Aspentech has a number of high-profile process industry customers, including Shell, Dow Chemical, Goodyear, BP and Monsanto.

Aspenworld had been rife with talk that the firm's life expectancy was limited. One delegate, a petrol company IT engineer, said, "People are saying that Aspentech will go belly-up, that it is wasting money and will be acquired before long."

David McQuillin, Aspentech's president and chief executive, said that recent announcements of losses and lay-offs were designed to create stability and change the company's organisational model to equip it for the future. "The rumours that have been going around are false," he said.

Aspentech, whose portfolio includes process simulation software and specialised enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, has debts of $150m (£97m) and has only made a profit in one of the past four years. AMR Research said recently that the company needs to regain profit-making performance or face takeover.

During keynote speeches to 2,000 delegates McQuillin and Aspentech founder Larry Evans set out their vision of the company's role in helping the process industries to make huge savings through real-time linking of manufacturing processes with ERP systems.

McQuillin said process industry companies waste huge amounts of money "by making the wrong stuff at the wrong time and carrying too much inventory".

He cited figures from ARC Consulting which predicted that, worldwide, the process industries have the opportunity to make up to $500bn in savings a year.

Evans said that linking plant operations to commercial operations will be "the next big wave", dubbing it "enterprise optimisation management

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