SAP published preliminary figures for its first-quarter results on Friday, showing revenue up 11 percent year on year, but margins shrinking with operating profit up only 6 percent.
Software and software-related service revenue amounted to €2.62 billion (US$3.49 billion as of March 31, the last day of the period reported), up 13 percent year on year, while software revenue grew 4 percent, to €640 million, according to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), SAP said.
Total revenue came to €3.35 billion, with an operating profit of €630 million, up 6 percent. SAP's operating margin slipped to 18.8 percent for the quarter, down from 19.7 percent a year earlier.
Excluding the effects of certain acquisitions and of currency fluctuations, total revenue for the first quarter rose 8 percent year on year, SAP said, while software revenue rose 1 percent under the same conditions.
Looking ahead, SAP expects software revenue in the second quarter -- again excluding certain acquisitions and currency fluctuations -- to grow by 15 to 20 percent compared to a year earlier, and for software and software-related service revenue for the second quarter to grow by 14 to 16 percent.
For the whole of 2012, SAP expects software and software-related service revenue to increase by 10 to 12 percent at constant currency rates, including a contribution of up to 2 percentage points from the recently acquired SuccessFactors business. It also forecast operating profit of between €5.05 billion and €5.25 billion, up from €4.71 billion for 2011.
The company has been on a recruiting spree to keep pace with its growth forecasts: excluding acquisitions, the company added the equivalent of 1,700 full-time staff over the year to March 31, ending the first quarter with 59,400 employees.
SAP's revenue grew fastest in Asia-Pacific and Japan in the first quarter, with software revenue there up 19 percent and software and software-related service revenue up 22 percent.
Software revenue fell in the Americas, dropping 4 percent to €236 million.
The company intends to publish further details of its results on April 25.
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