31 January 2003 SAP has proved there is still buoyancy in the business applications software market after posting higher sales and increased profitability in its closing quarter of 2002.
Citing market share gains, solid growth in Europe and stringent cost control, the company reported net income of €474 million, up from €319 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.
Revenues slipped by 2% to €2.28 billion. However, the picture was distorted by the sharp fall in value of the dollar against the euro during the period. At constant currency rates, revenues for the fourth quarter increased by 5%.
The most positive influence on those numbers, though, came from a sharp increase in maintenance revenue, up by one tenth in the quarter. That was in sharp contrast to software sales, which dropped 7%.
That trend was even more evident in SAP’s full year figures, with maintenance up 14% and sales down 11%. Additional growth during the year came from consulting revenue, which was up 6%. The upshot was a 1% rise in revenues to €7.41 billion – 6% at constant currency rates – consolidating SAP’s position as the world’s third largest software vendor.
Geographically, the picture was mixed. For the quarter, revenues from the EMEA region rose 7% to €1.3 billion, with the company showing particular strength in its home market of Germany.
Reported revenues in the Americas region for the three months fell 17%, but at constant currency rates were down only 1%. Tight cost management globally also helped the company keep headcount constant at about 28,800.
The profit rise inspired an upbeat statement from the company: “Despite the continuing unpredictable political and economic environment, the Company expects that it will continue to gain market share and increase profitability in 2003.”