SAP outshines the competition in Q1

Europe's largest software company, SAP AG, saw its income and profits rise in the first quarter of 2003, in contrast to profit warnings from its U.S. competitors.

SAP's net income for the quarter was €186 million (US$201 million as of March 31, the last day of the period being reported), or €0.60 per share, an increase of 186 percent on the same period last year, it said in a statement Thursday.

Excluding stock-based compensation, acquisition-related charges and impairment related charges, pro forma net income was €200 million or €0.64 per share, an increase of 83 percent, the Walldorf, Germany, enterprise software company said.

The rise in profits comes despite an 8 percent drop in sales from €1.7 billion to €1.5 billion. Currency fluctuations have affected the results, however, and when figures are taken at constant currency rates, sales rose 1 percent, SAP said

Operating profits rose 60 percent to €298 million, compared to €186 million in the year-ago quarter. Excluding stock-based compensation, acquisition-related charges and impairment related charges, operating profit rose 28 percent to €304 million compared to €238 million last year.

U.S.-based enterprise software companies have not been doing so well. Sybase Inc. in Dublin, California, PeopleSoft Inc. in Pleasanton, California, and Siebel Systems Inc. in San Mateo, California, all warned earlier this month that first-quarter financial results will be lower than expected.

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