October 18, 2018 / 1:33 PM / a month ago

SAP to stay in Saudi Arabia, hopes for clarity on missing journalist

FILE PHOTO: The logo of German software group SAP is pictured at its headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

WALLDORF, Germany (Reuters) - SAP (SAPG.DE), Europe’s most valuable tech company, will continue to do business in Saudi Arabia, a top executive told Reuters, saying he hoped the circumstances of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are clarified.

“We can’t put a long-term commitment to a market into question in response to an isolated incident,” Chief Financial Officer Luka Mucic told Reuters. “Having said that, I would hope that this case can be cleared up as soon as possible.”

Mucic had not been planning to attend a conference in Saudi Arabia next week that has been hit by high-profile cancellations amid concerns that Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

He did attend the event last year but, this year, SAP will send a regional executive to attend.

“I visit the country regularly and see high growth potential - and high actual growth in the private sector,” Mucic said in an interview.

“We can’t abandon these customers – we have to deliver on our promise to be a long-term partner.”

The $140 billion German business software firm says it is growing strongly in Saudi Arabia and opened its first data centre in the desert kingdom this year.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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