SAP said after-tax profit rose 4 pc from a year earlier to 403 million euros in the first quarter of 2011 as software and services revenue increased sharply.

The German business software group said overall sales rose 21 pc to 3.02 billion euros, with services revenue jumping 20 pc to 2.33 billion euros and software sales up 26 pc to 583 million euros.

“We are pleased to report our fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in software and software related service revenue,” said Werner Brandt, CFO of SAP.

The company said software revenue continued to show strong growth after a very successful fourth quarter last year.

"We delivered double-digit revenue growth in all regions, benefitting from an increasing contribution to software revenue from our partner and channel business,” Bill McDermott, SAP's co-CEO, said in a statement.

SAP's first-quarter operating profit rose 7 pc from a year earlier to 597 million euros.

All sales and earnings data are calculated on the basis of IFRS accounting rules.