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German IT sector upbeat about 2004

13 January 2004

HANOVER – After two years of decline, Germany’s information technology (IT) sector is set to grow again in 2004, with the mood among computer, office and communications equipment firms increasingly upbeat, industry officials said Tuesday.

Previewing the annual CeBIT industry fair in Hanover, the industry federation BITKOM said turnover in Germany’s IT sector this year is seen rising 2 percent to EUR 134 billion.

However, this growth would still lag behind the global rise of some 5 percent, to EUR 2.3 trillion, and the 3 percent rise, to EUR 609 billion, in western Europe in 2004, BITKOM said.

Germany remains the world’s third biggest individual market for IT equipment, at around 6 percent, behind the 32 percent share for the United States and 12 percent share for Japan.

“The sector’s barometer is pointing steeply upwards. The IT sector in Germany is gaining new momentum,” commented BITKOM president Willi Berchtold.

He said the mood in the German IT industry is also now upbeat. A survey in December among companies showed that 70 percent expected a growth in revenues in 2004, with one out of every 10 firms even expecting double-digit growth.

In 2002 and 2003, turnover in the industry levelled off at around EUR 131 billion, down from the record level of EUR 134 billion in 2001. Amid the downturns, the industry shed some 60,000 jobs during the past two years, with payrolls in Germany now around 750,000.

This year’s computer, telecommunications and office equipment fair CeBIT in Hanover runs 18 to 24 March. The Hanover fair company said that so far, more than 6,000 companies had registered to participate, booking more than 300,000 square metres of exhibition space.

Last year, CeBIT booked 350,000 square metres of exhibition space, with the number of exhibitors plunging around 20 percent to 6,600.

Meanwhile, in a preliminary report for 2003, German software giant SAP said Tuesday that its revenues last year fell around 5 percent to EUR seven billion euros.

The figure, adjusted for currency fluctuations, included EUR 2.15 billion for software licenses, down 6 percent from 2002, SAP said.

The company did not specify its earnings for last year, saying only that operating results per share improved around 4 percent to 27 percent. SAP is due to reports its full 2003 business figures on 22 January.

On the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, investors were apparently disappointed by the company figures, with SAP shares early in the afternoon down some 2.6 percent to EUR 134.74.


Subject: German news