SAP, gaining market share, raises outlook
FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – Germany’s SAP (SAPG.DE) announced upbeat results in the seasonally tough first quarter, saying it was gaining ground on its main competitors Salesforce (CRM.N) and Oracle (ORCL.N) in the cloud and that its margin recovery was firmly on track.
SAP, Europe’s largest tech company by stock market valuation, also raised its sales and profits guidance for 2018 to take into account the $ 2.4 billion acquisition of U.S. sales software firm Callidus that was announced in January.
“We’re gaining share fast and we’re outpacing our toughest competitors pretty handily,” Chief Executive Bill McDermott told reporters on a conference call, calling the results strong at the top and bottom line.
SAP now expects total non-IFRS revenues at constant currencies this year of 24.8-25.3 billion euros ($ 30.28-$ 30.89 billion), representing growth of 5.5-7.5 percent, up from an earlier expectation of 5-7 percent growth.
Non-IFRS operating profits rose 14 percent in constant currency to 1.235 billion euros, compared to the average forecast of 1.19 billion euros in a Reuters poll of 15 analysts.
Cloud subscription and support revenues, SAP’s growth driver, grew by 18 percent to exceed 1 billion euros for the first time. At constant currencies they rose 31 percent, to which McDermott said: “Wow.”
Cloud growth accelerated outside the United States and grew faster than any of SAP’s major rivals, including Oracle, Salesforce and Workday (WDAY.O), he added SAP has faced currency headwinds due to the strong euro, and both the company and analysts focus on key metrics after adjustment for currency effects to get an underlying picture of performance.
Had SAP reported in U.S. dollars, like its competitors, the growth numbers would have turned out even better, said Chief Financial Officer Luca Mucic. Cloud subscriptions, for example, would have shown year-over-year growth in the first quarter of 37 percent in U.S. dollar terms, he said.
“We grew faster than every ‘best-of-breed’ cloud (competitor) out there,” McDermott said. “Faster than Workday, a lot faster than Salesforce, and a lot faster than Oracle.”
Mucic said that an expansion of 1.1 percentage points in operating margins in the first quarter boded well for SAP after a strong showing in the same quarter a year ago.
($ 1 = 0.8191 euros)
Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Eric Auchard; Editing by Tom Sims