SAP nudges up multi-year outlook after posting in-line 2016 results


SAP, Europe's most valuable technology firm, on Tuesday posted 2016 results on the lower side of analysts' expectations, while nudging up its 2017 sales and profit guidance and signalling slightly higher revenue ambitions four years out.

Fourth-quarter operating profit, excluding special items, for the German software maker rose 4 percent to 2.37 billion euros ($2.55 billion), the company said in a statement.

These results were on the light side of estimates ranging from 2.28-2.60 billion euros, according to a Reuters poll of 21 analysts. SAP Finance Chief Luka Mucic indicated last month the company would meet 2016 targets.

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

But marking progress moving its customer base to newer cloud-based Internet platforms from classic packaged software products it has sold for decades, SAP said new cloud bookings jumped 40 percent in the quarter and backlog for unbilled cloud services rose 47 percent to 5.4 billion euros at year-end.

SAP said it expects revenue for 2017 of 23.2 to 23.6 billion euros, a modest rise from the 23.0 to 23.5 billion euros it forecast a year ago for the current year and an increase of 6 percent over 2016, based on the midpoint of the guidance.

These forecasts were shy of the mean 2017 revenue estimate of 23.65 billion euros, based on a Reuters poll of 20 analysts.

"Our strong backlog paired with our robust pipeline position us for yet another year of profitable growth in 2017," Mucic said in a statement, adding that these factors allowed the company to confidently raise its financial ambitions for 2020.

SAP raised its 2020 total revenue outlook to between 28 and 29 billion euros, up from a range of 26 to 28 billion previously, while looking for operating profit at high end of its prior outlook.

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