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Unexpected high license growth fuels SAP second-quarter operating profit beat

The logo of German software group SAP is pictured at its headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, May 12, 2016.

Unexpectedly strong growth in high-margin packaged software licenses fueled quarterly earnings of Europe's largest software company SAP (SAPG.DE), which confirmed its full-year outlook.

Second-quarter operating profit, excluding special items, rose 9 percent to 1.52 billion euros ($1.67 billion), beating average analysts' expectations of 1.45 billion euros in a Reuters poll.

SAP, whose customers include many of the world's biggest multinational corporations, specializes in business applications ranging from accounting to human resources to supply-chain management.

It and its established rivals such as Oracle (ORCL.N) and IBM (IBM.N) are racing to fend off pure cloud software rivals like (CRM.N) and Workday Inc (WDAY.N) in...