* Q1 operating profit down by more than one-fourth
* Low interest rates, low equity volatility hurt sales
* Eyes 2013 EBIT of 1 bln euros in good market scenario
* Eyes 2013 EBIT of 800 mln euros if revenue sags
FRANKFURT, April 29 (Reuters) - Deutsche Boerse reported a greater-than-expected 26 percent drop in operating profit for the first quarter as low interest rates and reduced equity market volatility dented the exchange operator’s revenue.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to 192.0 million euros ($251.5 million), which compared with a consensus forecast of 203.5 million euros according to Thomson Reuters data and fell from 260 million euros in the first quarter of 2012.
Quarterly net revenue fell 4 percent from a year ago to 484.3 million euros, although that figure was an improvement compared with the previous two quarters, Deutsche Boerse said in a statement on Monday.
Deutsche Boerse said the future behaviour of capital market players was hard to predict, complicating forecasts for its outlook for 2013.
With no improvement in investor confidence, business activity would be on the level of the second half of 2012, implying a decline in net revenue of about 7 percent to 1.8 billion euros and operating profit of 800 million euros for this year, the company said.
In the case of a significant improvement in the investment environment, Deutsche Boerse would expect a moderate improvement in revenue to more than 2.0 billion euros and operating profit of about 1 billion euros, it said.
Earlier this year, the Frankfurt-based exchange operator said it would seek additional cost savings to help offset a slump in revenue, which fell 14 percent in 2012.
At the time, the company said it planned to eke out additional annual cost savings of 70 million euros.
On Monday, Deutsche Boerse said its firs- quarter operating costs rose by nearly one fifth to 295 million euros, though the figure included around 66 million euros in expenses linked to its cost-cutting programme.