Software group Sage highlights continuing European troubles

SOFTWARE maker Sage said yesterday that it had continued to be affected by tough trading in Europe.

The company said that conditions in the UK and Ireland had improved in recent months, but that trading since October had been “in line” with the previous financial year, in which Sage’s growth slowed to two per cent.

Sage, the only software firm in the FTSE 100, is best known for its payroll software, Sage Pay, which it said saw strong growth in the period.

“Economic conditions for our customers are challenging across our markets and we remain particularly watchful of the uncertain market environment in mainland Europe,” chief executive Guy Berruyer said.

Despite Sage’s troubles in Europe, Sage has performed relatively steadily, with growth in North America, South Africa and Brazil impressing.

“In fairness the ‘iffy’ mainland European operational backdrop is commented on by other vendors so we do not see Sage losing market share – it just needs to grind through the conditions,” Panmure Gordon’s George O’Connor said.

Shares in the company fell just over two per cent yesterday.