European software giant SAP today published preliminary fourth-quarter financial results that are dramatically higher than city analysts had predicted.
According to the posting, SAP should at least reach its own operating margin target of 21 per cent for 2002.
Financial analysts expressed surprise at the predicted results, as many had considered SAP's targets unreachable after the software firm began dropping its revenue predictions in the second half of 2002.
The announcement predicted that SAP's income from software licence sales from its enterprise back and front office systems and enterprise resource planning would reach €950m (£621m) in the final quarter of last year, down only slightly from €1.03bn (£673m) in the same period a year ago.
"These are very strong numbers," an analyst with a large US investment bank told the Financial Times today. "While cost-cutting will have had an impact on the bottom line, these suggest the US has been performing much better than in the past because Europe is normally steady at this time of year," the analyst added.
SAP shares rose almost six per cent on the back of the pre-announcement to €90.90 after markets opened.
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