SAP AG, the biggest maker of business-management software, reported earnings trailing analysts’ estimates as the company increased spending and growth in the Americas slowed. The shares fell.
Fourth-quarter operating profit excluding some items rose about 10 percent to 1.96 billion euros ($2.61 billion), the Walldorf, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected 2 billion euros, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales of new software licenses, an indicator of future revenue, climbed 9 percent to 1.94 billion euros, compared with analysts’ 1.95 billion-euro projection.
SAP outgrew peers including archrival Oracle Corp. over the past year, helped by gains in the retail, health-care and manufacturing industries and software for corporate mobile devices. Co-Chief Executive Officers Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe are now trying to prove that new businesses such as Internet-based software can become dependable earnings generators to complement the traditional on-premise business.
SAP fell as much as 4.3 percent to 58.42 euros in Frankfurt trading. The company is scheduled to give its 2013 forecasts on Jan. 23.
Last week, SAP unveiled an overhauled version of its flagship Business Suite software that runs on its Hana database, cutting the time required for transactions and analysis to a fraction. SAP aims to use the speed boost provided by its to increase its share in the database market, dominated by Oracle and International Business Machines Corp.
SAP and Redwood City, California-based Oracle have acquired companies that let clients rent software online rather than installing it on their premises. SAP in 2012 completed the acquisitions of SuccessFactors Inc. and Ariba Inc. to broaden its product range and woo customers wary of the economic slowdown in Europe.
Oracle last month reported quarterly sales and profit that beat analysts’ estimates and projected revenue excluding some items would rise in the three months ended February.
Spending on enterprise software may increase 6.4 percent to $296 billion this year, faster than the 3.3 percent growth pace recorded in 2012, Gartner Inc. said Jan. 3. The research firm also raised its overall estimate of spending on information technology, saying that uncertainty regarding an upturn in the world economy is “nearing resolution.”
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