Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thurs - SAP shines

SAP, the world’s largest business software maker, raised its full-year outlook after 3rd quarter earnings exceeded expectations on the back of improved sales in the US.

The German technology group today raised forecasts for full-year software revenue growth to a range of between 12 and 14 per cent from 10 to 12 per cent.

SAP‘s revenue for the three months to September 30 was 13 per cent higher than the previous year, at €2.01bn. Pre-tax profits were 11 per cent higher at €517m.

Software sales showed the strongest growth, adding 18 per cent overall. The best performing region was the US, where software sales grew 34 per cent to €199m and total revenue for the region was 40 per cent higher at constant currency rates.

SAP's growth in the US must reflect well on its strategy to fend off the increasingly powerful applications business Oracle is assembling after buying Peoplesoft and Siebel in particular.

SAP continues to lead the worldwide enterprise software market - its share of software revenue grew to 60% from 58% at the end of the second quarter - it has responded to Oracle by using its “Safe Passage” program, which gives discounts to customers of Oracle’s new acquisitions.

But, holding onto such a massive market share may get harder starting next year or the year after as Oracle integrates the businesses thay have acquired and aggressively goes after the market.

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