SAP heralds slow return of corporate software spend


14 Jan 2004

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In preliminary figures for its fourth quarter, German e-business software maker SAP reported a slight increase in software revenues, indicating a more gradual recovery in corporate software spend than the dramatic return most analysts have been predicting.

On a constant currency basis, the software giant said software revenues of €958m were up by 4pc compared to last year.

The company, which employs around 300 people in west Dublin, said that the software results were achieved mainly through strong performance in the US and Germany.

Total revenues for the fourth quarter, including services revenue, are expected to be approximately €2.2bn, down 3pc from the €2.3bn reported in the same period last year. On a constant currency basis, fourth quarter total revenues were up by 4pc compared to the fourth quarter of 2002.

Software revenues for the full year of 2003 are expected to be approximately €2.15bn, representing a decline of 6pc compared to the €2.29bn reported for 2002. On a constant currency basis, however, full year software revenues were up by approximately 1pc compared to 2002. Total revenues for the full year are expected to be slightly above €7.0bn, which is 5pc lower than total revenues of €7.4bn reported for 2002. On a constant currency basis, total revenues for the full year were up by approximately 3pc compared to 2002.

On the basis of these figures, SAP expects to significantly exceed its previously published target for pro forma operating margin and pro forma earnings per share. The company now expects its 2003 pro forma operating margin to increase by approximately four percentage points to around 27pc, compared with 23pc in 2002. SAP said it will publish its full fourth quarter results on 22 January.

By John Kennedy