SAS, the global privately-held software company based in Cary, says its sales hit a record high $2.87 billion in 2012, an increase of 5.4 percent.

SAS has now reported revenue growth for 37 consecutive years dating back to its founding.

However, its rate of growth did slow last year. In 2011, revenues grew by 12 percent.

“In 2012, many companies began to rethink conventional ways of doing business when they realized big data analytics could deliver results almost instantaneously,” said SAS CEO and co-founder Jim Goodnight. “When high-performance analytics can solve the world’s toughest business problems thousands of times faster, there’s no limit to what organizations can achieve.”

Inside the Numbers

While overall sales grew, SAS reported some changes in shares of business produced by various sectors.

For example, the top category, financial services, produced 38 percent of revenue, down 2 percentage points from 2011.

Government and services also declined, each dropping a point to 14 percent and 12 percent of revenues respectively.

Growth sectors included:

Life sciences, up 1 point to 7 percent
Manufacturing, up 1 point to 6 percent
Retail, up 1 point to 4 percent
Healthcare, up 2 points to 5 percent
SAS has also been profitable every year.

The company’s revenues were $2.725 billion in 2011.

SAS also increased its research and development spending to 25 percent of revenues last year, up from 24 percent in 2011.

Global Growth

Revenues grew across all global markets, SAS reported.

The Americas generated the most dollars at 47 percent.

Europe, Middle East and Africa produced 41 percent of sales.

Asia-Pacific accounted for 12 percent.

The geographical breakdown was almost identical to the previous year with the Americas at 46 percent, Europe Middle East and Africa at 42 percent and Asia Pacific at 12 percent.

Earlier this month, SAS was recognized as the second best company to work for in a survey by Fortune magazine.

SAS finished 2012 with 13,442 employees. More than 5,000 of those are located in Cary.

“The link is solid between SAS’ financial performance and treating employees and customers well,” Goodnight said. “When people feel trusted, the results are phenomenal. It’s reflected in our commitment to innovation. It’s deeply gratifying that we’ve created a great place to work, not just in the United States, but also worldwide.”

[SAS ARCHIVE: Check out a decade of SAS stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]