Parametric Technology (PMTC) develops software used for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM). At a P/E of approximately 15x and a 5.3% free cash flow yield, Parametric appears cheap relative to other technical software developers. However, its earnings quality
has historically been low and it faces more severe competition than some of its peers. With earnings quality
improving and the valuation favorable, PMTC certainly bears watching. But for now I think Dassault Systemes (DASTY) and Ansys (ANSS) have sufficiently better prospects to justify their higher valuations.
Compared to companies like Ansys, which develops highly technical products and has relatively few competitors, Parametric has significant competition in each of its business segments.
PLM competitors include Dassault Systemes SA, Siemens (SI) subsidiary UGS, Autodesk (ADSK) and Agile Software (AGIL). They also compete with larger enterprise-solution companies such as SAP (SAP - Annual Report) that have entered the PLM market and offer solutions integrated with their other enterprise software applications.
ECM competitors include EMC (EMC - Annual Report) Documentum, IBM's (IBM - Annual Report) FileNet, OpenText, Adobe (ADBE) Framemaker, and the Microsoft (MSFT - Annual Report) Office suite.
Parametric suffered mightily during the tech downturn, but since 2004 the company has been engineering a turnaround based on improved profitability and a return to growth. Current consensus growth estimates for the next five years are just 7%, or half the rate expected for the industry. The lower growth estimates are part of the reason for the cheaper valuation.