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Financial Performance

We delivered an exceptional year, with record cloud growth, exceeding our outlook for cloud and software revenue and operating profit.

Growth

Driven by the cloud transition, SAP’s topline exhibited strong growth in 2021. We achieved the high end of our revised cloud revenue outlook range and exceeded our cloud and software revenue outlook. 

Driven by strong adoption of our cloud portfolio, cloud revenue growth was strong and at the upper end of our revised outlook. In 2021 cloud revenue grew 17% to €9.42 billion (2020: €8.08 billion).

Total revenue increased to €27.84 billion in 2021, representing an increase of €504 million, or 2% (2020: €27.34 million). 

Cloud and software revenue grew to €24.08 billion in 2021, an increase of 4% (2020:€23.23 billion). We exceeded our revised outlook for this measure in 2021.

Driven by adoption of 'RISE with SAP', the current cloud backlog increased 32% to €9.45 billion in 2021 (2020: €7.16 billion). Current Cloud Backlog (CCB) has been reported since 2019 and replaced the New Cloud Bookings metric. More information about the CCB can be found here.

Profitability

SAP’s operating profit exceeded the revised outlook for 2021.

In 2021 non-IFRS operating profit was down 1% to €8.23 billion, up 1% at constant currencies (2020: €8.29 billion).  We exceeded the upper end of the revised full year outlook. This development was largely influenced by investment decisions in our innovation areas and growth markets. 

Non-IFRS operating margin decreased by 0.7 percentage points to 29.6% and decreased by 0.5 percentage points at constant currencies. 

Operating cash flow decreased to €6.22 billion in 2021 (2020: €7.19 billion). This exceeded our outlook of approximately €6.0 billion. This number was impacted by higher income tax payments, while payments related to restructuring were lower. 

In 2021, free cash flow decreased to €5.05 billion (2020: €6.0 billion). This exceeded our outlook of more than €4.5 billion, despite being impacted by tax payments and share-based compensation expenses.

Comparison of Outlook and Results for 2021

  Results
for 2020
Outlook for 2021
(Integrated Report 2020)
Revised Outlook
for 2021
(Q1 Quarterly Statement)
Revised Outlook
for 2021
(Half-Year Report)
Revised Outlook
for 2021
(Q3 Quarterly Statement)
Results
for 2021
Cloud revenue
(non-IFRS, at constant currencies)
€8.09 billion €9.1 billion
to €9.5 billion
€9.2 billion
to €9.5 billion
€9.3 billion
to €9.5 billion
€9.4 billion
to €9.6 billion
€9.59 billion
Cloud and software revenue
(non-IFRS, at constant currencies)
€23.23 billion €23.3 billion
to €23.8 billion
€23.4 billion
to €23.8 billion
€23.6 billion
to €24.0 billion
€23.8 billion
to €24.2 billion
€24.41 billion
Operating profit
(non-IFRS, at constant currencies)
€8.29 billion €7.8 billion
to €8.2 billion
€7.8 billion
to €8.2 billion
€7.95 billion
to €8.25 billion
€8.1 billion
to €8.3 billion
€8.41 billion
Share of predictable revenue 72% 75% 75% 75% 75% 75%
Effective tax rate (IFRS) 26.8% 27.5% to 28.5% 26.0% to 27.0% 21.5% to 23.0% 21.0% to 22.0% 21.5%
Effective tax rate (non-IFRS) 26.5% 24.5% to 25.5% 22.5% to 23.5% 20.0% to 21.5% 20.0% to 21.0% 20.0%

Shareholder Return

SAP has continually paid an increased dividend in line with its policy to pay out at least 40% of Non-IFRS profit after tax. SAP has proven to be a a strong long-term investment, with 12% average annual return over the past 10 years.

We believe our shareholders should participate in our success. Therefore, we have proposed the dividend be increased by approximately 32% to €2.45 per share (2020: €1.85). This includes a special dividend of €0.50 to celebrate SAP’s 50th anniversary. The 2021 dividend is pending approval of the Annual General Meeting on May 18, 2022.

SAP stock largely followed general market trends in 2021, gaining 16.5% on the year to finish higher than the DAX40(+15.8%) but below the NASDAQ-100 (+26.6%). With a market capitalization of €153.4 billion at year end, SAP was the second most valuable company on the DAX40. 

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