Bentley’s Exton, Pennsylvania, headquarters modelled using its Acute 3D software (Bentley)

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Bentley takes first steps to going public

16 February 2020 | By Andrew Pring

After many years of considering public flotation, construction software provider Bentley Systems has begun the process towards an initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

The company, which turns over $700m (£537m) annually in 170 countries, has announced that it has submitted a draft registration statement on form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the proposed public listing of its Class B common stock. The public listing is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.

Bentley Systems employs more than 3,500 staff and has invested more than $1bn (£770m) in research, development, and acquisitions since 2014. From inception in 1984, the company has remained majority-owned by its five founding Bentley brothers. Bentley shares are currently sold only by invitation on the Nasdaq Private Market. 

Commenting on the move, Graphic Speak, the American website for CAD and DCC professionals, said: “The company has been flirting with the idea of going public for years. It has long been tired of being the secret weapon for large construction and infrastructure projects but the family-owned business does not relish the idea of investor input and/or interference either.”

If the flotation proceeds, Bentley Systems may choose to accelerate its developments with digital twins. At last year’s Digital Construction Week event in London, Bentley’s presentation explained how it sees digital twins taking centre stage over the next 12-18 months, advancing rapidly beyond building information modelling and enabling asset‐centric organisations to converge engineering, operational, and information technologies for immersive visualisation and analytics visibility.

The result, it said, will be better informed decisions to improve network/service availability, enhance passenger and worker safety, ensure regulatory compliance, and reduce environmental impact.

Image: Bentley’s Exton, Pennsylvania, headquarters modelled using its Acute 3D software (Bentley)