SAP SE shares dropped as much as 21 per cent, the biggest intraday fall since 1999, after the software company cut its revenue forecast for the full year and said it expects a fresh wave of lockdowns to hurt demand through the first half of 2021.
In a test for Christian Klein, who became sole chief executive officer in April, the pandemic will delay SAP’s goals for cloud revenue, overall sales and operating profit by one or two years, especially in hard-hit industries such as business travel, the Walldorf, Germany-based company said in a statement on Sunday. The drop in shares on Monday wiped 28 billion euros (US$33.1 billion) off SAP’s market value.
The drop-off in SAP’s cloud revenue is a sign that companies are putting off making major decisions about updating their software, as the pandemic continues to limit any global economic recovery.
SAP said it expects limited growth and margin improvement over the next two years, and moved expectations to meet its 2023 strategy plan out to 2025. Klein said on a call Monday he expects a conservative recovery into the first half of next year.
The previous outlook “assumed economies would reopen and population lockdowns would ease, leading to a gradually improving demand environment in the third and fourth quarters,” SAP said in the statement. “Lockdowns have been recently re-introduced in some regions and demand recovery has been more muted than expected.”
The pessimistic short-term outlook from SAP risked a knock-on effect on the European software industry, warned analysts at Citi. Europe’s Stoxx Technology index fell as much as 6.3 per cent, its biggest one-day loss since March.
SAP now expects adjusted revenue of 27.2 billion euros to 27.8 billion euros (US$32.2 billion to US$32.9 billion) at constant currencies in 2020, lower than the earlier guidance of 27.8 billion euros to 28.5 billion euros. SAP also said it no longer sees a boost from business-travel related revenue this year in its Concur business.
It’s difficult to find positive news in the results, Nicholas David, an analyst at Oddo BHF said Monday. “The warning on the mid-term ambitions was expected/feared by the market but the new ambitions are lower than the most pessimistic expectations,” he said in a note.
SAP said it is in the advanced stages of a listing for its Qualtrics software unit. It announced the decision in July to list the U.S. unit less than two years after buying the company for a record sum, a surprise u-turn signaling a strategic shift under Klein.
“We are well advanced in the preparations of the Qualtrics IPO”, Chief Financial Officer Luka Mucic said on a call Monday. “Qualtrics has had a strong quarter which will set it up for further growth into next year.”
Adjusted cloud revenue is expected to be 8 billion euros to 8.2 billion euros in 2020, down from a previous estimate of 8.3 billion euros to 8.7 billion euros.
Operating profit will be 8.1 billion euros to 8.5 billion euros this year, down from expectations of as much as 8.7 billion euros.
SAP updated its mid-term ambition for total revenue to more than 36 billion euros in 2025 compared to its previous estimate of 35 billion euros in 2023.
The company sees more than 22 billion euros in cloud revenue and over 11.5 billion euros in operating profit by 2025.
- Third quarter non-IFRS operating profit decreased by 12% year over year to 2.07 billion euros. That compared to the 2.15 billion-euro average estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Revenue in the period declined four per cent to 6.54 billion euros compared to analysts’ average 6.89 billion euro estimate.
--With assistance from Amy Thomson.