In March, Dassault Systèmes’ board agreed to adopt the status of European Company (Societas Europaea, SE), a designation that they feel better represents the international dimension of the Company and its growing presence in Europe. The SE designation, which is supported by the European Union, is not new, having been adopted by numerous Europe-based corporations. The transition should be finalized in 2015.
In a recent interview with BFM Business, Dassault Systèmes CEO Bernard Charlès discussed their decision to change their status from a French company to a European one. There were various considerations around their decision of course, rather than purely fiscal ones (although Charlès has been outspoken in the past about his frustration with France’s approach to fiscal matters). However, his biggest reasoning appears to be that in recent years Dassault Systèmes has transitioned to an international company in terms of its make-up, culture and identify.
Much of this change is due to a swath of acquisitions and other investments ($1bn and counting) that they’ve conducted over the last couple years. In fact, France now only makes up around 7% of their revenues. Germany has particularly become a key market for them where several employees there (one acquisition brought in 750 new employees alone) due to 8 acquisitions there in recent years. So, from the Dassault Systèmes’ perspective, it makes sense for the company structure to reflect the strong European make-up of the company.
Charlès also sees that leveraging their ‘European’ identity, given Europe’s sheer scale, volume of exports and imports, and importance as a one the world’s top markets, gives them a clear advantage. Although some may dismiss the European brand as ‘marketing’, Charlès views it as nothing of the sort and, in fact, considers it strategically important in order to compete and win in an increasingly globalized economy. Interestingly, they’re not alone in their status-shift as their top competitor SAP made the transition to European Company in 2013.
You can see Charlès’ discussion about their decision and discussion on how they’ve grown into a leader in the 3D Experience sector here. He also mentions the closing of their acquisition of US software company Accelrys.