January 22, 2018 / 6:13 PM / a year ago

Germany's SAP backs Macron with 2 billion euro French spending plan

An employee uses a mobile phone to make of picture of French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits Toyota's automobile manufacturing plant in Onnaing, France, January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

MUNICH/PARIS (Reuters) - Germany’s SAP (SAPG.DE) has committed to spend more than 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in France over five years, in one of the largest investments announced at a business summit hosted on Monday by President Emmanuel Macron.

The French leader aimed to show his activity on the world stage and his pro-business strategy were bearing fruit at a gathering with global CEOs in Versailles, where SAP and other firms announced a flurry of investments.

“There is a real sense of economic momentum in France,” SAP Chief Executive Bill McDermott said in statement after meeting with Macron.

“We see immense potential in the entrepreneurial spirit of France to disrupt business models, create modern jobs and unleash exciting new opportunities that help the world run better.”

SAP said the investments would help it develop internet-based cloud services and other advances, such as machine learning or blockchain technologies.

Specifically, SAP said it planned to spend 150 million euros per year on research and development over the next five years, or 750 million euros in total.

The top maker of business planning software also planned a second technology accelerator program in France to foster some 50 start-ups, its second location after opening its first such accelerator in Berlin in September.

It also plans to invest directly in French start-ups. Finally, SAP said it had acquired Recast.AI, a small machine-learning start-up based in Paris, for undisclosed terms.

Reporting by Eric Auchard and Douglas Busvine in Munich and Michel Rose in Paris

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