Sage develops a positive story as revenues rise

SOFTWARE giant Sage saw its shares rise yesterday after it issued a trading update, despite the FTSE 100 falling to a one-week low.

The Newcastle-headquartered firm reported an increase in revenue of 6.6 per cent for the first nine months of the year, with growth of 7.5 per cent in the third quarter.

The group said year-to-date growth was boosted by non-recurring items in the first half and a relatively weak third quarter in 2014 included in the prior-year comparative.

The FTSE 100 company, which provides firms with management software and services, said it was confident that the business remained on course for a 28 per cent operating margin and at least six per cent organic revenue growth in 2015.

Chief financial officer Steve Hare said the overall the performance was encouraging, with the revenue growth rates flattered by a weaker third quarter last year.

“As we continue to transition the business towards higher quality revenue growth, through Sage’s strategy we anticipate that some quarters will be stronger than others and we are committed to sustainable, profitable growth generating consistent operating margins, yielding strong free cash flow and progressive dividends,” Hare said.

George O’Connor, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “A typically subdued but reassuring update… re-affirms full-year guidance and hints that the full-year outturn, before currency headwinds, might be slightly better.”