ASoftware AG stock reaches a 5-year high
With a 46 percent gain, Software AG stock was one of the big winners in the TecDAX index of technology stocks for 2006. The stock closed the year at €59.74 in trading on Xetra, just under the annual high of €59.90. In the first quarter of 2007, Software AG shares continued rising, registering a gain of approximately 7 percent.
Software AG stock also outperformed the DAX, which increased by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2007. Our shares also significantly outperformed the NASDAQ 100 and Goldman Sachs Technology (GSTI) benchmark indices. The NASDAQ 100 has only risen approximately 1.45 percent to 2,450.33 points since the start of 2007 and the GSTI has declined slightly by 0.37 percent to 51.23 points. Only the TecDAX, which includes several solar energy stocks, outperformed Software AG shares with an increase of 13.2 percent as of March 30 (see diagram below).
At the start of 2007, Software AG stock was trading at €59.14. By mid-January the price had already reached its first 5-year high of €62.57. The price then softened somewhat in connection with a stock market correction, falling to a quarterly low of €55.12. However, the announcement of the takeover of one of our sales partners, SPL Software in Israel, along with the announcement of our comprehensive growth program pushed the price up again and contributed to an above-average price performance for the rest of the quarter. On March 29, Software AG stock was listed at €64.13 - a new record in recent corporate history. The share price closed just under €63.91 on March 30.
A total of 11.7 million Software AG shares were traded in the first quarter, corresponding to an average volume of 268,712 shares per trading day. At the end of March, the market capitalization amounted to €1,817.59 million.
The announcement in February 2007 of Software AG's growth strategy was very well received by the capital markets. Together with the continous good performance of our stock and our stable business model, this led to another increase in target prices by financial analysts. The Company is currently covered by 23 global and regional analysts' firms in Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
We have continued to focus on expanding our contacts with financial markets. In the first quarter, we held a total of 11 road shows and corporate presentations at European capital market conferences - particularly in the German financial centers and in London and Paris - and conducted numerous meetings with individual investors. This year's CeBIT was a major highlight for our analysts and investors. Visitors to our trade fair booth received comprehensive information on our latest developments, and the high number of visitors confirmed our leading position in the rapidly growing market for Service-Oriented architecture (SOA).
Another main component of our investor relations activities includes providing comprehensive online information on Software AG stock. Prospective and current investors as well as market analysts can visit www.softwareag.com to view all relevant information such as key ratios, share price performance, current ad hoc announcements and press releases, our financial calendar, and corporate presentations. We have also published our latest annual report (fiscal 2006) online at www.softwareag.com/AnnualReport/de/en.
In the first quarter of 2007, all exercise conditions for the Management Incentive Program II that was set up in 2001 were fulfilled for the first time. A total of 327,067 options were exercised and a corresponding number of new shares issued, increasing the number of issued shares to 28,439,782.
This slightly changed our shareholder structure: the Software AG Foundation currently holds 29.68 percent of the share capital.
The Executive Board and Supervisory Board have proposed a significant dividend increase to €0.90 for fiscal 2006 (dividend paid for fiscal 2005: €0.80). A final decision will be made by the Annual Shareholders' Meeting on May 11, 2007. We have sent approximately 20,000 invitations and expect participation to be high once again, both at the meeting and via the Internet.