* Sees 2011 EBIT at 4.45-4.65 billion euros
* Sees 2011 SSRS revenue up 10-14 percent
* Dividend raised 20 percent, in-line with I/B/E/S
* To file motion to reduce damages in SAP/Oracle trial
* Shares down 0.5 percent
(Adds analyst's comment, background, updates share price)
By Nicola Leske
FRANKFURT, Jan 26 German business software maker
SAP (SAPG.DE) forecast double-digit revenue growth this year and
raised its dividend 20 percent, seeking to refocus investor
attention on its prospects after a damaging court battle with
U.S. rival Oracle ORCL.O.
"We showed rock-solid revenue across the globe (in the
fourth quarter), particularly in the fast-growing emerging
markets," Co-Chief Executive Bill McDermott said on Wednesday.
Chief Financial Officer Werner Brandt said the dividend hike
to 0.60 euros showed "confidence in our business going forward".
SAP shares were slightly lower as analysts and traders
pointed to a strong run-up in the shares prior to the results,
adding that the dividend increase was in line with expectations.
At 0936 GMT, SAP shares were down 0.5 percent, with the
STOXX Europe 600 technology index .SX8P up 1.1 percent.
The shares have gained 6.5 percent since the beginning of
the year, and 12 percent since the beginning of December,
outperforming an 11 percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600
technology sector index .SX8P.
NOT TOO AMBITIOUS
"SAP performed well in the past weeks, so it's not too big
of a surprise that we don't see an upside move today as some
investors cash in," said Thomas Becker, analyst at Commerzbank,
who has an "add" rating on the stock.
"Also the revenue guidance is realistic, but not too
ambitious. It could have been a bit more," he added.
The company said key non-IFRS software and software-related
service (SSRS) revenue, that includes revenue from license sales
and maintenance services, was expected to rise 10-14 percent
this year at constant currencies.
Operating profit was seen in a range of 4.45-4.65 billion
euros ($6.09-$6.36 billion) and operating margin was expected to
rise 0.5-1.0 percentage points.
Its 2010 operating profit was 4.00 billion euros with SSRS
revenue of 9.87 billion. The operating margin was 31.9 percent.
SAP bases its key outlook figures on non-international
financial reporting standards, which exclude acquisition-related
charges for example, because, SAP says, it allows investors a
better comparison of year-on-year operating performance.
"They have done a good job rebuilding confidence. The next
challenge will be to generate revenue with new products,"
Gartner analyst Thomas Otter said.
"Lots of software companies have had good quarters...and SAP
was coming off a pretty grim 2009, so comparisons have been
U.S. technology bellwethers Oracle and IBM (IBM.N) have also
reported strong software sales and on Wednesday smaller UK
accountancy software firm Sage Group (SGE.L) said in a trading
statement it had seen a continued gradual recovery in spending
by small businesses in the last three months, with growth
spreading to North America. [ID:nLDE70P0A3]
SAP also said on Wednesday it had increased provisions for
the Oracle legal battle by 933 million euros to around 1
billion, after a U.S. jury ruled in November that SAP must pay
Oracle $1.3 billion to settle a data theft case, dwarfing SAP's
estimate of the damages. [ID:nLDE6AN0I8]
SAP said it intended to file post-trial motions asking the
court to reduce the damages or order a new trial. Depending on
the outcome, it may consider an appeal.
SAP, whose more than 105,000 customers include Apple
(AAPL.O), Audi (NSUG.DE), GE (GE.N), McDonald's (MCD.N) and
Pepsi (PEP.N), bills itself as the world's leading provider of
software for managing supply chains and customer relations.
(Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Dan
Lalor, Greg Mahlich)