ECONOMY

SAP to bring regional HQ to Greece, help local start-ups

German software giant SAP AG intends to bring its Southern Europe headquarters to Greece, the company’s co-chief executive officer Jim Hagemann Snabe announced on Tuesday after meeting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens.

Snabe said he was impressed by the improvement presented by Greece and described his discussion with the prime minister as “very constructive,” adding that the company’s aim is to support the country’s growth which, he said, is on the Greek government’s agenda.

“We will invest in Greece,” Snabe said. “We see a market with many clever people where software could play a significant part and we are here to invest.”

The two men discussed ways of cooperation with the aim of reducing unemployment in Greece and boosting innovative entrepreneurship, while Snabe pledged to support initiatives by young entrepreneurs. “With the prime minister we talked about how we could resolve the problem of unemployment by training young people, and how we could inspire new start-up companies to strengthen our technology and lead to the growth of the economy.”

The meeting formed part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign investments to Greece and to encourage the expansion of the activities of those who already have a presence here.

SAP is Germany’s most valuable company. Its shares rose about 50 percent last year, pushing its market value beyond Siemens AG and Volkswagen. It posted profits of more than 11 billion euros in 2011 and has more than 55,000 employees around the world and 190,000 clients.

Based in Walldorf, Germany, SAP earmarked a total of 32 million euros for its top executives for 2012. The company is targeting increased sales of over 20 billion euros by 2015, compared with 16.2 billion last year. Analysts expect net income to grow to 3.7 billion euros this year, more than double the 2010 figure, data compiled by Bloomberg show.