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Edited Transcript of HEXA B.ST earnings conference call or presentation 30-Oct-19 12:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 Hexagon AB Earnings Call

NACKA STRAND Nov 14, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Hexagon AB earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 12:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Ola Rollén

Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Adam Dennis Wood

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - European Technology Equity Analyst

* Agnieszka Vilela

Nordea Markets, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Alexander Stuart Virgo

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director

* Alexander William Tout

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Andrew Lodovico DeGasperi

Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst

* Daniel Djurberg

Handelsbanken Capital Markets AB, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Erik Golrang

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (publ.) - Analyst

* Magnus Kruber

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Associate Director and Research Analyst

* Markus A. Almerud

Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst

* Mikael Laséen

Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Head of Software & Services and Financial Analyst

* Mohammed Essaji Moawalla

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Stacy Elizabeth Pollard

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of Software and IT Equity Research

* Sven Denis Merkt

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst

* Viktor Högberg

Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst

* Wasi Rizvi

RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Hello, and welcome to the Hexagon Q3 Report 2019. (Operator Instructions)

Today, I am pleased to present Ola Rollén. Please go ahead with your meeting.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [2]

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Thank you, and good morning, good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to this third quarter interim report for the Hexagon Group.

And if we start on Page 4, we get an overview of the third quarter. Organic growth was minus 3% in the quarter, and the net sales recorded growth was plus 1%. The best-performing business in the quarter was the PP&M division with an 8% organic growth. SI forecasted return to growth in the third quarter and recorded plus 1%. Geosystems recorded minus 3% organic growth, and it's been negatively impacted by tough comparisons from a big product launch that we saw last year and large orders for the mapping content business, which did not happen this year. We've also seen a general slowdown in the construction sector throughout the quarter.

Manufacturing Intelligence recorded minus 9% organic growth, and that was largely or to -- well, mostly driven by the previously communicated decline that we've seen in the electronics business in China. Gross margin was 63.2%, reflecting a very good and favorable product mix in the quarter. So it's up 1.2% over the corresponding period last year. EBIT margin 24.7%, up 0.2% compared to the third quarter of 2018. And as I just stated, we benefited from a favorable product mix and cost savings announced in the second quarter.

If we move to Slide 5, seasonality in profit. Q3 is usually our second weakest quarter in the year, and that seems to be the pattern this year as well.

Moving on to Slide 6. Key figures, the P&L statement. So recorded sales, EUR 956.3 million. The EBITDA margin was 34.1% and the EBIT margin 24.7% in the quarter. And this corresponds to an earnings per share of EUR 0.51.

Slide thereafter. Slide 7 is just a 9-month summary for your reading afterwards.

Let's turn to the cash flow, Slide 8. So cash flow from operations before changes in working capital amounted to EUR 270 million. We had a positive change in working capital connected to the decline in organic growth of EUR 4.2 million compared to minus EUR 91 million this time last year. And thus, the cash flow from operations was EUR 274.4 million, a very strong cash flow indeed with a cash conversion of 97% in the quarter.

If we look at working capital to sales on Slide 9, we can see that we are now firmly below 15%. In the third quarter, working capital amounts to 12.7% of sales.

And let's discuss the market development. So if we go to Slide 11, we have the sales mix, the geographic regions in the third quarter. And this is usually a fairly static picture. But given what's going on in our business and in the global economy, we see huge shift this time around. China is down from 17% to 13% of sales, whilst other regions and especially North America is gaining share and is now representing 33% of Hexagon sales in the quarter.

Slide 12, an overview of organic growth per geographic region. And we can see that South America is continuing to recover with the rebound in Brazil and lots of mining activity in the Andean countries. Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa is also recording strong growth whilst we see slower growth in Asia, excluding China and North America. And we see decline in Western Europe and China.

On Slide 13, for your own review, we have the arrow chart giving you the organic growth per segment and geographic region.

Slide 14, EMEA. EMEA recorded an organic growth of minus 2%. Western Europe recorded minus 4% organic growth. And we saw a very weak development in the U.K. market, especially for our leasing products in the Geosystems segment, where we saw a very slow market probably on the back of Brexit uncertainties in the construction sector. We also saw a slowdown in the industrial segment and automotive in Germany in the quarter. Continued solid growth in Eastern Europe and Russia, and Africa recorded double-digit growth on the back of strong demand for our mining solutions.

Moving on to Americas, Slide 15. North America recorded 1% organic growth. It was good to see that public safety returned to growth. We also saw strong growth from the PP&M division in the power and energy field. Growth was hampered by weak demand in surveying and mapping content products. South America, as previously mentioned, recorded double-digit growth. Strong recovery in Brazil.

Asia. China, minus 23% organic growth, and China is the explanation to our negative growth in the quarter. China is impacting the Hexagon Group with minus 4% on the group level. And it's largely impacted by the previously communicated significant decline we see in our electronics business in China. But we've also seen decline in infrastructure and construction and positioning solutions in the quarter. Highlights in Asia would be Japan, Malaysia, India and South Korea. We also see strong growth from the Southeast Asian countries, and some of it is spillover effects from companies relocating out of China and now setting up manufacturing operations in neighboring countries.

Reporting segments. Slide 18, Industrial Enterprise Solutions. Organic growth, minus 5%. MI records minus 9% but had a stable EBIT margin. PP&M grew by 8% and expanded its EBIT margin. So all in all, sales of 200 -- sorry, EUR 482.5 million, down from EUR 489 million last year. And an EBIT improvement from EUR 23.7 million (sic) [EUR 123.7 million] to EUR 124 million, corresponding to an EBIT margin of 25.7%, which is up compared to the previous -- this period previous year. And this is very much thanks to PP&M growing and MI maintaining strong EBIT margins in spite of a negative organic growth.

Moving on to Geospatial Enterprise Solutions, Slide 19. Organic growth of minus 2%. Geosystems contracted by 3%. And it was primarily the large orders we saw last year in our mapping content business that slowed down but also a general slowdown in construction across the globe. SI developed according to plan and recorded 1% organic growth, positioning no growth, no decline, 0 and was positively impacted by strong growth in aerospace and defense but saw a weaker demand in automotive. Sales for the segment amounted to EUR 473.8 million, up from EUR 457 million last year. And EBIT amounted to EUR 118.4 million, up from EUR 114.6 million last year.

If we move to Slide 20, the gross margin. We recorded a record gross margin in the third quarter. And our rolling 12-month average is now 63% gross margin. The operating margin is at 25% for the past 12 months.

And if we move to Slide 23, we're going to discuss orders and product releases and acquisitions. In the quarter, we acquired a small company called Melown Technologies, which helps us to visualize in 3D, creating so-called urban and natural landscape models. And it will be integrated in our reality capture solutions.

Slide 24, we're creating digital cities much faster and much more precisely with the new Leica CityMapper. And this enables digital twin creation for cities and metropolitan areas.

Slide 25, we started a collaboration with the city of Calgary called Living Labs. It's an initiative that started to use our technology to do autonomous driving research and development in the city of Calgary, and it's the first in Canada.

Slide 26, Subsea 7, a Norwegian-based company switched to Hexagon's BricsCAD Pro CAD products for all its business in Africa, Asia, Pacific, Brazil, Middle East, Gulf of Mexico, North Sea and Canada. Huge win for the Bricsys business.

Slide 27, Hexagon supports the U.S. Navy cybersecurity. We've started a collaboration with something called SABER, the Situational Awareness, Boundary Enforcement and Response contract. So we've signed a contract, and we're working with NAVSEA, which is a body within the U.S. Navy to do so.

Slide 28, we also signed a 5-year deal for our MinePlan software with Bayer. And Bayer is using MinePlan to deploy complicated geologic modeling and engineering pieces in their mines.

Slide 29, the country of El Salvador is using our location intelligence and AI solution to develop safety applications. So they will use our AI and Machine Learning techniques to generate location-based situational analysis and awareness models to reduce risks for populations.

Slide 30, it's a set of reality capture solutions orders that we got in the quarter from China Railway that is using Leica Pegasus. Electra, a survey services company based in Dubai, using our drones. And then Palabora Mining Company in South Africa that is standardizing on RTC360 scanners to do 3D visualization of underground mines.

Slide 31, this has been a long process, but we've been working since 2012 with Case New Holland to enable them to standardize on our GNSS positioning technologies. And finally, Case New Holland is now rolling out their positioning intelligence solutions using our technology in all their brands, Case New Holland and STEYR.

Slide 32, we got 2 very interesting orders where we will collaborate with the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra in India to monitor forests and wildlife and manage land records and property, using our geospatial software and receivers.

Slide 33, Volkswagen is kicking off a project called INDIA 2.0 where they're committing to invest EUR 1 billion in India to strengthen the group's footprint and build vehicles tailored to the engine market. And they've chosen Hexagon's metrology solution and ultra-high accuracy machines to build quality critical applications in car bodies and powertrains.

Slide 34, Airbus consolidates its database to reduce development lead time. And they're standardizing on our product MaterialCenter to reduce the lead time further in their manufacturing workflow and design.

And finally, on Slide 35, we will host a Capital Markets Day on the 11th of December this year in Cobham, Surrey, United Kingdom, and we will start at 10:00 U.K. time. And we will update you on our views on market trends and business activities. And if you're interested in attending, please send an email to cmd@hexagon.com no later than the 25th of November.

So with that, we've concluded the Q3 earnings call. And we are now ready to answer any questions there might be. So operator...

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question is from Alexander Virgo from Bank of America.

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Alexander Stuart Virgo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [2]

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I wondered if you could just expand a little bit on China for us. Maybe talk a little bit about the business ex electronics? And also perhaps if you could quantify quite how much of the minus 23 was electronics?

And your comp gets a little bit easier as we move into Q4. So I wondered if you could talk a little bit about the prognosis and any signs of life in either the electronics business or -- you also mentioned seeing customers already building outside of China. So just wondering how that plays into the -- to how we think about Q4 and 2020.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [3]

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Well, the contraction is roughly EUR 40 million in the quarter. And 3/4 of those EUR 40 million, i.e., a bit more than EUR 30 million is related to electronics. And you're absolutely right that as we move into Q4 and next year, the comps will get easier. There is definitely a sign of life in the electronics sector. And we think that next year might be more positive than what we've seen this year.

Beyond electronics, what's happening is a very complicated situation where the tension between North America -- or United States and China is detrimental to the kind of business that Hexagon is doing where we have, for example, U.S.-based technologies that we want to sell in China and vice versa, and that is the remaining EUR 10 million that we see. And we're trying to reshuffle our resources in China to simply go after noncritical applications where we can sell for the future.

So it's going to be another tough quarter. But hopefully, we'll see a silver lining as we enter into 2020.

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Alexander Stuart Virgo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [4]

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Okay. And perhaps maybe just expanding on that last bit -- that last point there. How much of your portfolio would you say would end up being affected by that sensitivity? Is it -- does it extend beyond MI? And I guess I'm thinking really about PPM and the strength that you've seen and the growth there in the last couple of quarters is really building up momentum. I'm guessing it's probably not really oil and gas, but maybe just expand a little bit on that as well.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [5]

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I think that all technologies and all software products around the world could be affected by this if it continues because, in effect, what's happening is that the Chinese government is reluctant to invest in systems where they use U.S. technology content simply because they don't know if they're going to be cut off or not in the future. And vice versa, U.S. has put an embargo on Chinese technology.

So it's not just Hexagon, I would say, that all technology companies could be affected if this drags out. So hopefully, we'll see a resolution or a solution in the next few quarters on this issue. But if not, we simply have to mitigate it and plan for a very different market going forward.

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Operator [6]

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Our next question is from Adam Wood from Morgan Stanley.

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Adam Dennis Wood, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - European Technology Equity Analyst [7]

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I've got 2, if I could. Just first of all, you highlighted the issue of the tough comps in 3Q last year with the product launches. Is it possible just to help us quantify how much of the deterioration in the third quarter versus the second quarter was due to those tough comps which hopefully reverse as the hardware comes out in Q4 and Q1? And how much was incremental weakness in the macro across the geographies? That would be quite useful.

And then just in terms of those product launches, you said in the release, end of 2019 for the hardware coming out. Does that mean we should really only expect them to impact in Q1? Or will there actually be a meaningful benefit already in the fourth quarter?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [8]

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There will be an impact in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, we're releasing them in November. So we will have 1 month out of 3 where we will sell the new products. If it's a meaningful impact or not is yet to be seen, but going then to your question on the third quarter, yes, there is a significant impact in Q3 of '18 from new products, which we don't see in the third quarter this year. And I would guesstimate it to maybe a couple of percent.

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Adam Dennis Wood, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - European Technology Equity Analyst [9]

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So you'd say that ex that, then the environment wasn't -- it was really relatively stable versus the second quarter, clearly, some gives and takes, but net-net, relatively stable versus Q2 then?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [10]

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Can you repeat that? I didn't get that question.

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Adam Dennis Wood, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - European Technology Equity Analyst [11]

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So if that impact was 2% and that's kind of roughly the delta in organic growth between Q2 and Q3, overall, we haven't seen a material movement in the underlying picture. Yes, there's some bits a bit worse and some bits a bit better, but overall, it feels like it's been relatively stable versus what the Q2 environment was.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [12]

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No. Absolutely. That is my view of the situation. We're down, but it's not getting worse.

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Operator [13]

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And our next question is from Stacy Pollard from JPMorgan.

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Stacy Elizabeth Pollard, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of Software and IT Equity Research [14]

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A few questions for me as well. It seems that you're benefiting from the restructuring in Q2. Can you just remind us what was restructured other than China?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [15]

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No. It wasn't just China that restructured, it was an overall restructuring and encompassing roughly 700 employees and it's group-wide.

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Stacy Elizabeth Pollard, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of Software and IT Equity Research [16]

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So no other divisions particularly targeted or -- okay.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [17]

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It was the general reduction in force. So it wasn't just one division contributing. It was across the company.

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Stacy Elizabeth Pollard, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of Software and IT Equity Research [18]

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Across the board, okay. Second quick one would be autonomous vehicles. Approximately how much does this area contribute to your revenues today, let's say, on an annualized basis? And how do you view the opportunity? And then also who are the competitors?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [19]

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It's hard to point at competitors because we work with everyone right now. And we're a facilitator in the development projects that various OEMs are undertaking right now.

It's a fairly small business. I would say it's roughly a couple of percent of our total turnover today. But we see a lot of traction in other areas than just costs like agriculture, mining and construction, where we could deploy these technologies to automate vehicles in those sectors. And that looks really promising as well.

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Stacy Elizabeth Pollard, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Head of Software and IT Equity Research [20]

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Okay. Very interesting. And sorry, last one for me. Just midterm guidance, do you still feel comfortable with the 2021 targets of EUR 4.6 billion to EUR 5.1 billion in revs and then 27% to 28% operating margins?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [21]

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I mean it would be a lie to say that it's not a tougher stretch, given what's happened in China. But no, we stick to our targets and we believe that we can achieve them.

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Operator [22]

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And our next question is from Sven Denis Merkt from Barclays.

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Sven Denis Merkt, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [23]

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Just maybe a quick follow-up from the question just asked, your medium-term targets and what you feel actually comfortable around? Is it the 5% average organic growth? Or are you more comfortable in the absolute revenue target, i.e., if organic growth is weaker going forward, will you do more M&A to get to your targets?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [24]

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That's why we're having a Capital Markets Day in December, and we'll -- would try to answer all your questions then.

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Sven Denis Merkt, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [25]

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Great. Looking forward to that. And then maybe just quickly, more generally. If we're now going into a more macro slowdown, how are you thinking about investments going forward? Would you potentially slow down investments somewhere? Or would you just simply take a very long-term view and continue into -- with your product investments?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [26]

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I don't think we have been in a selective macroeconomic slowdown for a very long time. And I think that the global economy is in need of new technologies that are greatly enhancing productivity and quality. And if you know that you can do that, I think you will continue to grow. But standard products and nice-to-have developments are probably something of the past. So we do see that we have great products like the RTC360. Products like that can continue to grow in a very depressed macro environment. And that's where we have to invest and we will continue to do so.

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Operator [27]

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And our next question is from Markus Almerud from Kepler Cheuvreux.

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Markus A. Almerud, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [28]

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Markus Almerud from Kepler Cheuvreux. My first question is on the BLK products which are to be released. So are there any preorders or anything like that which you can talk about to see how successful it's been? And I would assume that the reception so far has been quite good.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [29]

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Yes, there are preorders. We don't disclose that, but that gives us certain certainty that we will invoice in the fourth quarter.

Now the reception is great. I mean the BLK to go is a small revolution in construction and design and yes, construction project documenting in 3D, the fact that you can walk around the construction site and document it.

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Markus A. Almerud, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [30]

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Okay. Okay. Yes. Looking forward to that. Then can I just ask on PP&M? So the margin came off quite significantly in the oil and gas boom. And now that growth is back, is the margin also coming back to previous levels? Or is it growing at a slower rate? So how far off are we from previous levels?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [31]

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Now the margin is back. And that's why we see margin expansion in our industrial segment in the quarter, it's not too -- it's not back to the peak levels where we were pre the oil crisis, but yes. No, it's improving significantly.

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Operator [32]

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And our next question is from Viktor Högberg from Danske Bank.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [33]

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So sorry, I was both disconnected and on mute. So maybe you have to repeat yourself up with Geosystems. You said that the primary driver for the negative organic growth was the large mapping orders last year. Were those Q3 specific? And how much did they explain?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [34]

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We wouldn't comment on specific numbers in the program, but we saw a significant reduction in the sales to certain customers in that program in the third quarter.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [35]

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Okay. So would that be like only for Q3? Or should we expect that to continue? Or could you elaborate a bit?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [36]

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Q3 is the big quarter for the mapping content. That's when you fly large areas and you then resell the data. So Q4 is a much smaller quarter when it comes to mapping content. So it will be easier to that extent to meet last year's numbers.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [37]

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Okay. But it's a smaller quarter?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [38]

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Yes.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [39]

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Okay. So key PMI seems to stabilize. What do you hear from your customers? What do they need to see for orders to come back again? And what are they saying in your discussions?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [40]

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I think it depends on what customers you're alluding to.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [41]

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Challenges in MI?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [42]

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We have different challenges. Sorry?

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [43]

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Can we -- within the industrial segment, within MI maybe?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [44]

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Within MI, we see contraction in automotive. And it's been electric vehicles that have stopped investing in China. We saw large investment activities in the electrical vehicle segment in China in Q1 and even in Q2, and that has faded off a bit in the third quarter.

We saw a slowdown in the automotive industry in Germany, where orders didn't come in as expected. And I think it's a general uncertainty about demand in the automotive market. This usually lasts for a couple of quarters. And then we see new initiatives on design and new products which will benefit the Hexagon business.

If we move to electronics, which is the other segment, we do know that many OEMs are designing new products that could positively impact our business going forward. Whether that's a Q1 story or a Q2 story is yet to be seen.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [45]

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Okay. And in terms of M&A, what do you see out there in terms of price tax and available targets?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [46]

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No. There is a -- I mean there is a never-ending activity going on in the M&A field, and we don't see any slowdown in the M&A processes. It's too early to say that prices have come down, they haven't, but I think that might happen in the next few quarters.

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Viktor Högberg, Danske Bank Markets Equity Research - Analyst [47]

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Last question. Trimble said in August that they expect a flat organic growth in H2 2019 partly due to China. Could you elaborate a bit about what you see there that could be a differentiator between your and Trimble's product offering?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [48]

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We don't comment on Trimble.

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Operator [49]

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And our next question is from Erik Golrang from SEB.

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Erik Golrang, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (publ.) - Analyst [50]

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I have 2 questions. The first one on SI, which at least to me is the most -- the trickiest one to sort of forecast a couple of quarters ahead, but sort of any guidance that would be very helpful. You talked about a continued expected improvement. But I guess based on the order book, what that looks like and the order trend there? What kind of growth rate would you be happy with SI ending up in the near term here? Is it a sort of high single-digit level? Or could it even be in the double digits?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [51]

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SI is very difficult to predict indeed, even for us internally because it's an on-off or do-or-die business. You either get the order or you don't. But lately with the launch of a new product called OnCall, which is a dispatch system for first responders, we see a lot of traction with bid on lot of big projects that are coming -- that are going to be realized next year. So I think we have a cautiously optimistic view on SI and SI could have turned the corner. And the outlook is actually quite positive for the division.

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Erik Golrang, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (publ.) - Analyst [52]

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But it's going to be more of a sort of continued success taking new orders rather than executing on an order book?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [53]

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Yes. They have a good order book already, but I think we will see new orders as well in the next few months.

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Erik Golrang, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (publ.) - Analyst [54]

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Okay. And then the second question. I guess trying to square a bit all the moving parts here in terms of lower level of major new product launches and comparisons in electronics and sort of sequential trends. You said that Q2 underlying -- or Q3 underlying was similar to the second quarter. I mean if you would take guidance on sort of how has organic growth started the fourth quarter on a group level, based on everything we learned about comparisons, it seems as if it could be a bit better.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [55]

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We'll see. I mean there is a -- we were hit by the electronics segment before we saw the general slowdown in the global economy. So now we've taken the hit in the electronics segment, but we still see a slowdown in the global economy. And how this will pan out when you tally up all the bits and pieces, that is still very difficult to do. But I stick to my guns when I say I don't see it getting much worse. I think this is a level that is sustainable. And from here, we now need to start refocusing our resources to start building organic growth again as we enter into 2020.

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Operator [56]

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And our next question is from Mohammed Moawalla from Goldman Sachs.

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Mohammed Essaji Moawalla, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [57]

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Great. Ola, could you talk a little bit about your kind of relative visibility as you go into sort of this Q4 and into next year versus sort of a year ago? I know you've sort of walked through these issues around electronics and also some of the comp issues. And I'm just sort of curious in terms of, as you said on the last question, you want to turn the business back towards organic growth. Do you think that sort of by H2, you're reasonably confident that the group can be back to sort of organic growth levels, given you will have kind of lapped a lot of the difficult comps in electronics as well?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [58]

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I think this is a much bigger question than just a third quarter growth number. I think the backdrop in the global economy is that we have very little growth in the global economy right now. And in order for a company to grow in this environment, you need to deliver something extraordinary. If you just do the ordinary, you will be hit eventually as we see the next coming quarters in -- going into 2020.

So the focus has to be on new innovative solutions that truly enhance productivity or do something meaningful for your customer base, and that's what we're aiming at. We've grown 7% average organic growth since 2010. So that is our growth rate, our normal growth rate in this very weak macro environment. And we're definitely going to come back to that. The question is how many more quarters will it take for us to build that momentum.

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Mohammed Essaji Moawalla, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Equity Analyst [59]

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And do you feel you need to perhaps step up the rate of investment in the business to sort of achieve that?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [60]

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There might be a situation where we need to invest a bit more in certain areas. But I don't think it's going to be anything that we will have to flag on a group level right now.

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Operator [61]

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And our next question is from Daniel Djurberg from Handelsbanken.

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Daniel Djurberg, Handelsbanken Capital Markets AB, Research Division - Research Analyst [62]

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Most questions are answered. I have -- still have 2 questions, starting with automotive. You mentioned China, electrical vehicles, et cetera, and also Germany, and we see here that Western Europe, EMEA and also North America is weak on that note. Can you comment a little bit on your -- if you can mitigate this also from new products, so what is the sum of the outlook for 2020 in terms of automotive?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [63]

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We think that automotive is slowing down, and you can see that in other research in the market. So I guess that's no news to you that the automotive sector is slowing down. We also see a lot of activity in the design labs within the various OEMs where they're changing their product portfolios to hybrids, electric and more environmentally friendly product. And that is going to benefit Hexagon going forward. So we don't think this is a long-term slowdown for us as a company. And sometime next year, we should see an increased activity again from the automotive sector.

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Daniel Djurberg, Handelsbanken Capital Markets AB, Research Division - Research Analyst [64]

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Okay. Perfect. And also if I may on the normal question on SMART Build progress where the block gets to go coming up. Can you comment on your go-to-market a little bit? You have done pilots with Skanska and then others. But can you now bring some best practice in the -- to the market also for smaller sites? Or if you can comment a little bit on the SMART Build progress?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [65]

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We're planning the launch to early next year. So -- but it needs to be a coordinated effort with the scanners and the software platform. So maybe we can discuss that a bit more at the Capital Markets Day.

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Daniel Djurberg, Handelsbanken Capital Markets AB, Research Division - Research Analyst [66]

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Sounds great. Finally, if I may on Process, Power & Marine. The power and energy did well. You had the Subsea 7, Bricsys order, et cetera. And can you comment a little bit on the outlook there in terms of power and energy and in Process, Power & Marine if it's the pipeline that looks healthy?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [67]

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Now the pipeline is healthy. And what we've been working hard on over the past few years is to broaden the scope for our CAD products so that we do not only address oil and gas. So we've expanded into other fields such as mining, petrochemical, chemical applications, shipbuilding and so on and that has paid off. And hopefully, the other initiative that you just discussed, SMART Build, will also pay off in the quarters and years to come.

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Operator [68]

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And our next question is from Andrew DeGasperi from Berenberg.

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Andrew Lodovico DeGasperi, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [69]

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First, just on the market's trajectory. I know you know -- you showed aerospace and defense slowing down in Europe and the infrastructure and construction weakness in North America. Just curious, can you add some visibility on that in terms of how are things looking in 4Q?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [70]

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No. We can't really comment on visibility going into the next quarter. We more or less know the sentiment in that segment. But I have to remind you that we do almost 70% of our business in the third month of the fourth quarter, i.e., December. So it's still early days.

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Andrew Lodovico DeGasperi, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [71]

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Right. But aerospace and defense tends to be longer cycle. I mean is there anything sort of one-off in terms of the slowdown in the quarter, this quarter.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [72]

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But it's no longer cycle for us. We typically deliver and take orders in the third month.

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Andrew Lodovico DeGasperi, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [73]

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Got it. And then just one quick question on your product, the RTC360. We hear from some users that some people consider it a little too expensive but that the BLK doesn't deliver enough features. Do you plan -- or do you -- did you consider ever introducing a mid-level product that bridges the 2?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [74]

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We'll see. No one knows yet.

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Operator [75]

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And our next question is from Alex Tout from Deutsche Bank.

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Alexander William Tout, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [76]

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Just 2 for me. Firstly, on construction. You mentioned that you were seeing something of a broader-based slowdown there. Could you just dig in a little bit on that, what you think might be causing it, perhaps, kind of the outlook over the next couple of quarters? Is that going to further decelerate in your view as it stands?

And just within construction, could you talk about how demand for your software offerings specifically as distinct from the kind of hardware equipment might be getting on? And I'll ask the follow-up after that.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [77]

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We've seen a slowdown in the Chinese market with government-backed infrastructural projects. And I think that is -- it's probably the slowdown in the Chinese economy driving that. We've also seen a slowdown in the West. And I guess that is on back of a general slowdown in the economies -- the large economies in Western Europe and North America.

Whether this is it or if it's going to continue to get worse, I don't know. I'm no economist, so we'll see. And it's true what you're saying that we see less of a volatility with our software products in the construction sector compared to our hardware products.

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Alexander William Tout, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [78]

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Okay. And then on the software MI -- the software within MI. I think you mentioned it was stable in the quarter. Does that represent a deceleration for MSC, specifically? And how are you finding demand holding up for MSC within the automotive sector right now? Is it proving resilient despite the wider market slowdown? Or is it also getting dragged down a bit by that general automotive slowdown?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [79]

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No, it's proving resilient. And MSC is -- I mean it started off of the restructuring case where we took an old, tired company and repositioned it. And we're still gaining traction in the market with the new products that we're launching from MSC.

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Operator [80]

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Our next question is from Magnus Kruber from UBS.

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Magnus Kruber, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Associate Director and Research Analyst [81]

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Ola, Magnus here from UBS on behalf of Guillermo. I guess it's one question for me on Geosystems. I'm sorry to labor this point. I think you mentioned, of course, you had tough comps from product launches and large order last year. But if I try to sort of adjust for that by looking at the 2-year compounded growth, I think still there is a quite distinct slowdown in the growth rates from Q2 into Q3. Is that the general construction slowdown you're talking about? And should we expect that to sort of remain at that level?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [82]

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Yes, that is the general construction slowdown. And whether it remains or not, I don't know. The one who lives will see.

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Operator [83]

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And our next question is from Agnieszka Vilela from Nordea.

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Agnieszka Vilela, Nordea Markets, Research Division - Research Analyst [84]

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I have a question on IES. And if you can tell us if the mix that you -- you said it was favorable in the quarter? Was it because of the PPM growing so strongly, they have much better margins there? And also what's in your PPM pipeline? And -- so what are your demand expectations there?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [85]

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No. As we -- as I stated previously, we believe that PP&M has a good -- has repositioned its business in a good way where we're penetrating more markets outside of the traditional oil and gas field. So we do expect PP&M to have a favorable trading situation going forward.

When it comes to the mix, it's 2 things that happened in IES in the quarter. First of all, PP&M outgrow -- outgrew MI, which was beneficial. But within MI, the software business outgrew the hardware business. So you have 2 factors impacting the EBIT margin in a favorable way.

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Operator [86]

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And our next question is from Wasi Rizvi from RBC.

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Wasi Rizvi, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Analyst [87]

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Just the 2 left for me. So firstly, just trying to understand the margin movement year-on-year. It's not quite clear particularly in IES. Is it all mix? Or is some of the restructuring benefit in there or actually the restructuring benefit will come later?

And then the second question was actually on the BLK products again. In terms of the revenue opportunity for those products, is that a similar size or bigger or smaller than RTC360? What I'm trying to understand is if these products launch and set as expected, are we still looking at a net headwind? Or is that a net tailwind? Or is it broadly the same impact?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [88]

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If we start with the BLK product, we have great expectations for this product. But you would be a fool if you said a number what we expect. We will do our very best to introduce them, push for them and sell them. And hopefully, we'll gain traction in the market. That's how all market launches work.

When it comes to the restructuring program, on a group level, we benefited roughly EUR 5 million in cost reduction year-on-year as a comparison.

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Operator [89]

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And our last question is from Mikael Laséen from Carnegie.

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Mikael Laséen, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Head of Software & Services and Financial Analyst [90]

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Actually, I also had a question regarding the MI margin. It was stable year-on-year. And just wondering how much came from efficiency effects. And you partly answered that, I guess, but maybe you could be more specific regarding that unit?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [91]

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I don't know from top of my head out of the EUR 5 million, how much MI contributes with. But I guess a good guesstimate would be that it's almost 50-50, EUR 2.5 million per segment. And MI is the largest division within IES. PP&M did its restructuring earlier, so yes. I really don't want to give you a number that I don't have.

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Mikael Laséen, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Head of Software & Services and Financial Analyst [92]

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And in general, this efficiency program, EUR 51 million expected to be in cost adjustments. How should we model this? How do you -- how should we expect this to develop ahead?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [93]

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I mean we expect full impact as of 2020. So if we had EUR 5 million in Q3, I would do a linear extrapolation into Q4 and Q1 with 1 quarter per quarter as of 2020.

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Mikael Laséen, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Head of Software & Services and Financial Analyst [94]

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Okay. So I expected actually...

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [95]

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That's how I would do it. So 12.5% the quarter going into next year.

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Mikael Laséen, Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Research Division - Head of Software & Services and Financial Analyst [96]

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So I mean, to be clear, that means full annualized effect from Q1 '20?

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [97]

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Yes.

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Operator [98]

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And as there are no further questions, I will hand over back to speakers for any final comments.

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Ola Rollén, Hexagon AB (publ) - CEO, President & Director [99]

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And we do not have any more comments. So we wish you a good day or a good evening, depending on where you are. Thank you.

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Operator [100]

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This now concludes our conference call. Thank you all for attending. You may now disconnect your lines.