Sunday, July 15, 2012

SAP defies tech gloom with strong software sales

Germany's SAP, the world's largest maker of business software, delivered a stronger-than-expected rise in profits led by robust sales, defying a weakening trend that has hit rivals.

sap-logoSAP said its software revenues, when measured by IFRS accounting standards, rose 19 percent to a record 1.06 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the second-quarter.

It had previously predicted a 15-20 percent increase at constant currencies.

Quarterly operating profit before special items rose 15 percent to 1.17 billion euros, above the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S average analyst estimate of 1.11 billion euros.

SAP shares, down 9.4 percent in the last three months, traded up 4.7 percent at 48.35 euros by 1236 GMT.

"The results are much better than the market had come to expect recently," one stock market trader said.

"Very sound set of figures, given the macroeconomic uncertainties and the poor results of some competitors," said DZ Bank analyst Oliver Finger.

Analysts pointed to robust demand for cloud computing, favorable exchange rates and the purchase of cloud-software developer Success Factors.

Cloud computing provides software, storage and other services from remote data centers over the Web and holds the promise of reducing costs and improving efficiency.

The company didn't give an outlook and the general feeling is that technology spending might weaken further as the euro zone's debt crisis deepens and U.S. job creation stagnates.

There has been plenty of evidence of a weak second-quarter in the tech sector. U.S. software firms Qlik Technologies and Informatica Corp as well as Indian software services provider Infosys have issued estimates below market forecasts.

Last month, however, SAP's main peer Oracle reported stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.

SAP is expected to publish more detailed results and to provide a full-year outlook on July 24. ($1 = 0.8164 euros)

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