FRANKFURT (Reuters) - SAP, the world's biggest maker of business software, said on Wednesday it would consider buying back shares after reporting a 23 percent jump in third-quarter operating profit and sticking to its 2011 outlook.
"Given SAP's strong free cash flow generation over the first nine months of 2011, the company plans to further evaluate buying back shares in the future," the company said in a statement.
SAP said free cash flow was 2.64 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in the first nine months of the year, up 42 percent from 1.85 billion euros last year or 27 percent of total revenue.
SAP, which competes with Oracle Corp, said earlier this month third quarter sales at its key software and software-related services business rose 16 percent to 2.69 billion euros, while group sales came in at 3.41 billion.
Underlying operating profit for the group jumped 23 percent from a year ago to 1.13 billion euros, beating analysts' average forecast of 1 billion.
The company reiterated its outlook saying it would reach the high end of its 10 to 14 percent growth forecast for software and related services. Operating profit would come in at the high end of between 4.45 billion euros and 4.65 billion.
($1 = 0.719 Euros)
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde)