Sage Group's share price slides despite hitting targets

James Nickerson
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Analysts said Sage's performance was a "touch ahead" of expectations (Source: Getty)
age Group's share price led the fallers on the FTSE 100 this morning, despite posting strong results and indicating further growth.

Sage's share price was 4.06 per cent lower at 554.25p per share in mid-morning trading, after it posted revenue growth of six per cent for the year to the end of September. It said it expects to equal or better its performance in the new financial year.

Subscription contracts grew to over 690,000, and increased the number of paying subscriptions for Sage One by over 100 per cent to 173,000.

Read more: Sage to move into the Shard

Organic revenue rose 6.7 per cent to £1.36bn in the 2015 financial year, compared to 2014, while organic operating profit rose 9.6 per cent to £383m from the same period a year ago.

"Our initial take is that Sage's underlying performance is possibly a touch ahead of expectations, albeit currency headwinds mean that the overall numbers are in-line," analysts at Numis wrote in a note.

"However this is all slightly muddied by an accounting policy change which we expect to cause some early sell-side confusion this morning."

Read more: Sage pushes on with new plan

However, Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said shares in the accountancy software maker are "bearing the brunt of the bears today despite in-line full year results" and thus underperforming a still rallying FTSE. He added:

With the shares having put on almost 20 per cent over the past 2 months to regain May 16 year highs, they seem to be suffering from continued profit taking which began on Monday after a brief foray above 585p.

Having been sideways since May, investors are hitting escape, concerned that further correction may be on the cards.

Meanwhile, Stephen Kelly, chief executive officer, said: "Transformation is rarely linear and it is clear we have much to do as we manage the operational risks. Our balanced and sequenced approach, the experience of the management team, and the strong underlying characteristics of the business give me confidence in the delivery of long term, sustainable, high quality growth."

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