Software firm SAP sees higher 2010 sales and profits amid tough market

GERMAN software maker SAP yesterday said it expects to increase core sales and operating margins in 2010 but cautioned that market conditions are still tough because companies remain wary about investing.

“What we see is that the markets are still cautious ... but what we see in 2010 is it’s going to be a very slow road to recovery but that shouldn’t prevent us from being more optimistic,” said chief executive Leo Apotheker.

SAP, which competes with US software company Oracle, surprised the market two weeks ago with a strong fourth-quarter performance in Asia, seen as a sign that some tight corporate budgets may be easing.

“In 2010 it’s a stepping stone year, we want to recover our growth path again ... and if that works out then I hope that in 2011 we can talk about double-digit growth again,” Apotheker added.

Businesses such as McDonald’s, Pepsi, Audi, Apple and GE are just a few of SAP’s more than 92,000 customers. The company bills itself as the world’s leading provider of business software that helps companies manage supply chains, customer relations and ties with suppliers.

SAP, which is switching to IFRS reporting from US GAAP, said it expected 2010 non-IFRS software and software related service revenue to increase four to eight per cent at constant currencies after a five per cent decline last year.

It aims to reach a full-year 2010 non-IFRS operating margin in a range of 30-31 per cent at constant currencies, up from 27.4 per cent.