German software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

posted a 28% rise in first quarter operating earnings and said its on track to meet its full-year targets.

Earnings before stock-based compensation and other items, rose 28% to 304 million euros, or $330 million, while net earnings shot up to 186 million euros from 65 million euros. Sales were down 8% to 1.5 billion euros, primarily reflecting currency translation. They rose slightly in constant currency. Software license sales fell to 352 million euros from 402 million euros.

SAP was able to use cost cuts to offset the revenue weakness, expanding its margin to 20% in the latest quarter from 14% a year ago.

The company continued to make inroads into the U.S., where it competes with

TheStreet Recommends

Siebel

(SEBL)

and

Peoplesoft

(PSFT)

. U.S. license sales were 71 million euros in the quarter, up 1%, but up 24% in constant currency.

The shares were recently up 2% to $24.36 on Instinet.