German software developer SAP plans to invest $450 million in the Mena region over the next four years as it seeks further growth beyond its mature home markets, the company said on Monday.
The world's biggest maker of business software is targeting 40 per cent compound growth in regional revenue to the end of 2015, chief financial officer Werner Brandt told a news conference in Dubai, which equates to just under 9 per cent a year, according to Reuters calculations.
Brandt said within the Mena region, the Gulf was SAP's primary focus.
'SAP expects to significantly grow its Mena revenues by 2015, building on double-digit compound growth between 2008 and 2011 and establishing the region as one of the company's top 10 growth markets globally,' SAP said earlier in a statement.
"Innovative technologies such as mobility and the cloud are among the fastest growing IT segments and are already having a significant impact on businesses' ability to grow and innovate," said Jyoti Lalchandani, vice president and regional managing director, IDC Middle East and Africa.
"We are facing a major turning point where we either embrace the cutting-edge or remain rooted in the past. Solid, forward-looking investment plans such as the one announced by SAP today will not only dramatically strengthen Mena's ICT landscape, but also its ability to compete on a global scale."
Mobility, in-memory computing and cloud services would drive this growth, said Sam Alkharrat, managing director for Mena, adding SAP was unlikely to make acquisitions in the region.
'From a local perspective it's more about talent acquisition rather than business acquisition,' he added. 'We are very open to partnerships. When you talk about cloud solutions and more innovative areas like mobility you have to partner with telcos and data centre providers, but not to the acquisition stage.'
As well recruiting 500 new employees, the company will build a training institute in the Mena region to certify 2,000 consultants within the next four years. Brandt said the institute's location had yet to be decided, but Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the prime candidates.