SAP Profits Soar

Enterprise software developer sees continued growth despite slow economy.

German software giant SAP AG churned out positive financial results for last quarter despite a slow economy.

The enterprise applications maker Thursday reported that its first-quarter profits more than doubled from the same period of 2002, while sales were relatively flat.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31 was 186 million euros, or about $200 million, compared with a net income in the first quarter last year of about 65 million euro, or about $70 million.

The Walldorf, Germany, company reported total revenues of 1.52 billion euros, or about $1.64 billion, in the quarter, down from 1.658 billion euro, or about $1.8 billion. Officials were quick to point out that if the numbers had been kept at a constant currency rate SAP would have seen a 1 percent increase in revenues.

Software sales slid from 402 million euro in the first quarter last year to 352 million euro in Q1 2003. Despite this drop in sales, SAP claimed it had increased its share of the worldwide enterprise software market. Officials said that SAP owned 54 percent of the market it shared with Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc., J.D. Edwards & Company, Siebel Systems Inc. and i2 Technologies Inc.

Officials said they were not changing their previously announced outlook for slow but steady growth.

SAP decreased its headcount over the quarter by 143. It ended the period with 28,654 full-time employees.