4 Min Read
* SAP raises 2010 revenue growth outlook
* Keeps operating margin target
* Q2 revenue up 16 pct, EBIT up 21 pct
* Shares down 2.4 pct, German DAX .GDAXI up 0.4 pct (Adds co-CEO comment, analyst comment, shares)
By Nicola Leske
FRANKFURT, July 27 (Reuters) - SAP (SAPG.DE), the world's biggest maker of business software, raised its 2010 sales forecast by less than the market had hoped given a rebound in global technology spending.
The disappointing outlook eclipsed solid quarterly results on Tuesday that confirmed the trend at rivals such as Oracle ORCL.O and Microsoft (MSFT.O) and may help ease concerns that cautious companies could slow their tech spending again.
It also made SAP the latest company to report weak sales in Europe as a drag on recovery in more vibrant regions.
"We still see the United States as a bellwether market and it's a market (where) we are doing exceptionally well and that will continue," co-CEO Bill McDermott told Reuters Insider TV.
For the Reuters Insider TV interview with Bill McDermott:
For a graphic on SAP competitors see:
"Customers continue to invest for growth across large, mid-sized and small enterprises and within many industries," said McDermott, who took the helm at SAP jointly with Jim Hagemann Snabe in February after a management shakeup.
The German company raised its 2010 growth forecast for non-IFRS key software and software-related service revenue (SSRS) to a range of 9-11 percent from the previous 4-8 percent.
That includes contributions from U.S. database company Sybase, which SAP acquired in May, of 6-8 percentage points.
It stuck to its full-year target for a non-IFRS operating margin of 30-31 percent.
SAP's stock lost 2.4 percent by 0900 GMT after the results.
Analysts said SAP had disappointed expectations by being too conservative in its sales target and leaving the margin goal unchanged.
"Consensus is already looking for a 9.6 percent increase in SSRS," DZ Bank's Oliver Finger said.
SAP -- whose more than 100,000 customers include McDonald's (MCD.N), Pepsi (PEP.N), Audi (NSUG.DE), Apple (AAPL.O) and GE (GE.N) as well as institutions such as Johns Hopkins Hospital -- bills itself as the world's leading provider of software to help manage supply chains and customer relations.
Results were buoyed by currency swings, with a strong increase in U.S. license sales and a 9 percent drop in Europe.
"Europe was probably the only place that we can't declare victory in the terms of the second quarter and the macro overall trend," McDermott told Reuters Insider.
However, he was cautiously optimistic because early signs of a strong pipeline gave reason to assume that Europe would do better in the second half of the year than in the first.
McDermott said he expected Japan to bounce back strongly in the last six months of the year.
Arch-rival Oracle and Microsoft both reported quarterly results that beat expectations while IBM (IBM.N) disappointed investors with a decline in new technology service contracts and a bigger currency impact than expected. [ID:nN19191611]
SAP's operating profit rose 21 percent to 774 million euros ($999.2 million) on software and software-related service revenue of 2.26 billion euros, an increase of 16 percent.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average seen operating profit at 796 million on SSR sales of 2.14 billion euros.