Its stock rising, Aspen Tech enjoys a quiet revival after a two-year exile from Nasdaq
Not every company can bounce back from a stock market delisting and avoid a life on the pink sheets. Watching a chief executive leave amid an accounting scandal and later plead guilty to fraud doesn’t help, either.
But Aspen Technology Inc. has quietly pulled it off.
Aspen just announced another year of record revenue: $500 million.
And the Bedford maker of industrial software has seen its stock soar lately, with the shares rising more than 60 percent since January to close above $108 each on Tuesday.
The company’s market capitalization is approaching $8 billion, placing it in a solid mid-tier alongside the likes of more well-known Massachusetts businesses such as TripAdvisor and PerkinElmer.
Aspen employs about 1,500 people globally, including 500 at its local headquarters. And it recently hired its first chief operating officer to help prepare for a new era of growth.
Aspen has come a long way from its time in Nasdaq exile, when the shares fell below $7. Aspen returned to the exchange in 2010, after two years away. The recovery began under the leadership of Mark Fusco, who took over in 2005 for the CEO who resigned during those bookkeeping troubles, and the rebound accelerated under the current chief, Antonio Pietri.
Fusco helped balance the books by cutting costs and closing facilities. Aspen also began moving to a subscription model for its software nearly a decade ago; all customers have now been switched. Subscriptions, of course, can provide a more reliable revenue stream.
Pietri points to another important change: a recent move into maintenance. Aspen’s modeling software, big in the chemical and oil industries, has long been used in design and optimization. But now customers can use it for maintaining systems, as well. That has opened doors to the mining and transportation markets, sectors in which reliability is crucial to success.
Investors who have stuck with the company this long have reason to celebrate. Maybe they should raise a pint: Aspen counts the Guinness brewery in Dublin among its increasingly diversified customer base.