So Much for SAP's "Teutonic Solidity"

Published on October 28, 2009
by John Paczkowski

sap“We always said 2009 would be a tough year.” SAP CEO Léo Apotheker made that remark during the company’s third-quarter earnings call today and, sadly, SAP’s worse-than-expected performance and reduced forecast would seem to bear him out.

Revenue fell nine percent, year over year, to $2.5 billion, missing the consensus estimate of $2.67 billion. And at 39 cents, profit per share missed analysts’ 42-cent estimate.

Worse, SAP (SAP) reduced its forecast for the year. Where the once Teutonically solid company had foreseen a drop in revenue of four to six percent, it now sees a drop of six to eight percent. Clearly, sales of the software licenses necessary for building ongoing revenue continue to deteriorate.

Add to this Apothekar’s comments about “a particularly challenging environment in Japan and emerging markets” and his claim that “businesses are still very cautious in making major investments,” and you begin to see why SAP’s shares were so brutalized in early afternoon trading.

SAP’s earnings were “a clear miss” analysts at Commerzbank said in a report issued this afternoon. “The lowered software and software-related services guidance for 2009 indicates that the deal pipeline still suffers from a lack of larger deals and that clients remain reluctant to spend on SAP applications.”

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