SAP shares dip by almost 21%, its biggest stock market slump since 1999

Pete Flint

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What just happened? Tech corporation giant SAP released changes to their expected earnings because of the lockdown and financial downturn in their markets, and as a result saw a massive plunge in stock price Monday morning. Company reps say it will recover slowly over the next couple of years, but it will be leaning on its cloud-based services to keep profits up.

German tech giant SAP SE released revised estimates of its profit and revenue projections for 2020 and beyond Sunday evening. Stocks subsequently plunged by 21% Monday morning, slashing $35bn off the company's total valuation.

For those unaware of the organization, SAP is a large multinational corporation that mostly makes software for enterprises to manage resources, operations, and customer relations. SAP is the third most widely traded technology company in the world behind Microsoft and Oracle.

The firm's original revenue forecast for 2020 ranged from €27.8bn - €28.5bn, but recalculations taking adjusted demand into account estimate revenues of €27.2bn - €27.8bn. A statement from the company revealed that in their original calculus, lockdowns as a result of covid would ease earlier and they would see a higher uptick in demand by now, but it seems "demand recovery has been more muted than expected” as a result of newly introduced lockdowns and slowed economies.

Software sales dropped by 4% in the third quarter, but cloud computing business boomed, seeing 11% growth. This is a trend prevalent in many industries during the 2020 financial troubles where "X-as-a-service" or cloud-based products and companies (read: Netflix and Amazon) are succeeding, while demand for many previously popular products is slowly diminishing. SAP, for example, expects to triple its cloud growth by 2025, whereas the rest of the business will take time to heal.

Monday's trading slump was the company's largest stock dip since 1999. SAP has warned that the pandemic will likely "have a negative impact until at least the first half of 2021," and that sales will slowly improve over the next two years as enterprises resume normal operations.

As a company that fuels operations management and infrastructure for other large companies, SAP serves as a useful indicator species for a trauma to the wider stock market ecosystem. Monitoring the trending successes or damage to similar tech corporations may provide an indication as to when the world is headed back to normality.

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