FRANKFURT (Reuters) - SAP <SAPG.DE>, Europe's biggest software maker, on Tuesday reported a 19 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit, excluding special items due to growth in its mature markets.
SAP said third-quarter operating profit, excluding special items, rose to 1.62 billion euros ($1.84 billion), beating the most optimistic estimate among 14 analysts, with individual estimates ranging from 1.45 billion to 1.59 billion euros, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Europe's largest software maker said it was sticking to its outlook for the full year for non-IFRS operating profit of 5.6 billion euros to 5.9 billion euros at constant currencies, which represents flat growth to a rise of as much as 5 percent from 5.6 billion euros last year.
"Our strong double-digit growth in cloud and software revenue was mainly driven by excellent results in mature markets," SAP's Chief Financial Officer Luka Mucic said in a statement, adding that he expected continued volatility and economic challenges in emerging markets.
SAP, whose customers include the world's biggest multinationals, specialises in business applications ranging from accounting to human resources to supply-chain management.
Like established rivals such as Oracle <ORCL.N>, IBM <IBM.N> and Microsoft <MSFT.O>, SAP is striving to boost Internet-based sales to head off fast-growing newer competitors such as Workday <WDAY.N> and Amazon.com's <AMZN.O> web software unit.
SAP said its cloud subscriptions and support revenue more than doubled to 600 million euros in the third quarter.
Third-quarter total revenue of 4.98 billion euros was slightly ahead of the average expectation of 4.93 billion.
SAP released its key results ahead of the scheduled release data on Oct. 20.
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Ken Wills)